College Sports

Scouting South Carolina’s next opponent: the Florida Gators

No. 9 Florida (6-1, 3-1 SEC) at South Carolina (3-3, 2-2 SEC)

When: Noon Saturday

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium

TV: ESPN

Line: Florida by 7.5

THREE STORYLINES

1. South Carolina’s season suddenly has new life. The Gamecocks shocked Georgia on Saturday, putting a whole new spin on the 2019 season. Making a bowl looks more realistic, but what about contending for the top of the SEC East? This week offers a golden opportunity. A home win against the Gators and USC is suddenly 3-2 in the division with tie-breakers over the division’s highest ranked teams.

2. While South Carolina is coming off a huge win, Florida enters off a deflating loss. The Gators had a chance to make a national statement in Baton Rouge, but fell to LSU 42-28, ending their undefeated season. How each team responds to different results might be the difference in this matchup. USC last beat ranked opponents in consecutive weeks in 2001.

3. Florida allowed six touchdowns to the Tigers, but still ranks among the top 10 nationally in scoring defense. The Gators allow just over 14 points per game. That’s second to only Georgia in the SEC. South Carolina is averaging just 20 points an SEC game, but is coming off consecutive stout defensive performances. First to 20 wins on Saturday?

THREE FLORIDA PLAYERS TO WATCH

1. Feleipe Franks was a big reason behind UF’s comeback against the Gamecocks in 2018. The junior quarterback, however, was lost for this season after dislocating his ankle in a Week 3 win over Kentucky. Enter Kyle Trask. The junior from Texas never started in high school, but he’s now 3-1 in that position after replacing Franks, at Florida including a win over Auburn. Trask has thrown for 1,91 yards with 10 touchdowns to three interceptions.

2. No SEC team has more interceptions this season than Florida with 12. Junior safety Shawn Davis leads the Gators with three picks, including a one-handed grab that keyed the Auburn and led to an SEC Defensive Player of the Week honor. He had two INTs in the Kentucky win.

3. Jonathan Greenard is third in the SEC in tackles for loss with 6.5. The senior linebacker has four sacks, seven QB hurries, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and interception.

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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