COLUMBIA, S.C. (CBSMiami.com) – The once mighty Florida Gators will be looking to run their record to 6-4 on the season when they travel to Columbia to take on the 7-2 South Carolina Gamecocks.
Fans of both teams have spent the better part of the past week concerned about whether their team’s quarterback would be ready for the game.
South Carolina starting quarterback Connor Shaw sustained a concussion in a loss to Arkansas. UF’s John Brantley briefly lost feeling in his hand after a hit to his shoulder and elbow during a victory over Vanderbilt.
But, despite all of that, both quarterbacks have been cleared to play and expect to be under center during the game.
For Florida, having Brantley in the lineup will be key if the Gators hope to get past USC’s ferocious pass rush.
“Having John back makes us that sort of offense that we want to be,” first-year Florida coach Will Muschamp told the Associated Press. “That’s where we’re headed and that’s what we’re looking forward to displaying there in Columbia.”
South Carolina had better hope for a better performance than the team put out in their last game. The Gamecocks gave up 435 yards in total offense to Arkansas.
It was only the second time the Gamecocks have given up 400 plus yards of offense this season.
Even with the loss, South Carolina is still alive in the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division. USC has to beat Florida and then hope the Georgia Bulldogs lose to either Auburn or Kentucky.
It’s been a tough season for USC head coach Steve Spurrier’s team. The defense is young, but has been lights out at times.
His offense has sputtered since it lost potential all-American running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a knee injury in a game against Mississippi State.
“Actually, when you look at the way our team has played this year, you’ve got to say, ‘Hey, those guys are 7-2 and they’re in position to really achieve some stuff this year,'” Spurrier told the AP. “We’ve got to play one of our best games, get some fire and emotion.”
The Gators’ last second win over Vanderbilt last week broke a four game losing streak in conference play.
If the Gators can beat the Gamecocks, the team will become bowl eligible. The Gators would win another game, against Furman, and then have to deal with Florida State the next week.
South Carolina went to the Swamp last year and thumped the Gators team that was in a downward spiral. But, South Carolina hasn’t won back to back games against Florida since 1939.
The game is set for a noon kickoff and can be seen exclusively on CBS4.