Saturday, November 15, 2008

South Carolina No Match for the Gator Machine

By JC De La Torre

Steve Spurrier has seen many blowouts at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the place that he nicknamed "The Swamp". He's seen the Gators completely dominate overmatched opponents time and time again. Spurrier has never been beaten in the Swamp the way the Gators unleashed on South Carolina today. #3 Florida demolished the 25th ranked Gamecocks 56-6, churning up 516 yds of offense and limiting Spurrier's offense to 173 yds and 4 turnovers. The fifty point loss was the worst for South Carolina since 1995, when Spurrier's Gators ripped the Cocks 63-7.

The Gators opened up the scoring when Brandon Spikes intercepted SC QB Chris Smelley and returned it for a touchdown to make it 7-0. After receiving the ball back, Smelley would be picked off again, this time by Ahmad Black, who returned it to the South Carolina 26 yd line. From there, Percy Harvin took over, running the remainder for the score and a quick 14-0 advantage. Spurrier thought his team needed a spark, so he called for a trick play on the ensuing kickoff. After fielding the kickoff, Deion LeCorn attempted to lateral the ball to a waiting Chris Hail, but the ball sailed over his outstretched hands, where Gators special teamer James Smith would recover and rumble to the goal line for an apparent touchdown. After review, Smith was ruled down at the one, but it would only delay the inevitable as Florida QB Tim Tebow would plunge it in from a yard out to make it 21-0.

In the 2nd quarter, Tebow would connect with Deonte Thompson 46 yds for a score to balloon the advantage to 28-0. South Carolina would finally get on the board with 2:36 left in the first half with a 42 yd field goal by Ryan Succop. Florida led 28-3 at halftime.

The Gators received the kickoff to start the second half and on their first play from scrimmage, Harvin would take a handoff and race 80 yds for a touchdown - 35-3 Gators. South Carolina responded with their best drive of the game, going 56 yds in 11 plays and capping it with a 44 yd Ryan Succop field goal to narrow the Florida advantage to 35-6. The Gators would come right back, driving 82 yds in 6 plays with Jeff Demps going the to the house on a 38 yd jaunt. 42-6 Florida.

On the first play of the 4th quarter, Aaron Hernandez's circus catch in the back of the endzone capped a 40 yd 6 play drive to add another 7 points to the Gator lead. Chris Rainey would take on another score late to provide the final margin, 56-6.

Florida ran for 346 yards, 167 of those by Percy Harvin with the two touchdowns. South Carolina was the 11th best team in the country against the run, allowing just over 101 yards. Since losing to Ole Miss back in September, the Gators have outscored their opponents 299-63 and has won each game by at least 28 points.

After yet another destruction of a ranked team, it will be interesting to see if the pollsters continue to have Texas ranked over the Florida juggernaut. As I type this, Alabama is struggling with Mississippi State and Florida State is in a dogfight with Boston College. Both may eventually come back to win their games but these are the two teams that stand in the way of the Gators advancing to the BCS Title game.

Tonight, its great to be a Florida Gator.
JC De La Torre is an author of Science Fiction/Fantasy and other realms of Speculative Fiction - check out his latest works at JC

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