COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Before I re-watch the tape of Florida's fifth-consecutive loss in a dismal 2013 season, here are some rapid reaction grades from UF's 19-14 defeat to South Carolina in Williams-Brice Stadium.
The total yardage was nothing to sneeze at (307 yards), but coordiator Brent Pease's gameplan was brilliant considering the cirumstances (third-string quarterback, down three offensive tackles). Skyler Mornhinweg attempted just two passes before halftime, but Florida rushed for 169 yards unitizing some trickeration (direct snaps, jet sweeps, Wild-Gators), unbalanced lines and misdirection.
Unfortunately, the whole "no passing" thing caught up to UF, as USC’s nasty front-seven eventually slowed Florida's rushing attack. Still Florida moved the ball despite so many uncertainties and few expectations.
South Carolina tallied just 377 total yards, as tailback Mike Davis and quarterback Connor Shaw were both (mostly) held in check. Shaw struggled with his accuracy and rarely made plays with his legs, while Davis was slowed by an ankle.
Florida's secondary did lose multiple receivers, but Shaw was unable to take advantage. A tight end again killed slaughtered UF's linebackers (Rory Anderson, 3 catches for 69 yards).
Florida’s red zone defense -- especially compared to last weekend -- was fantastic. Florida forced USC into five field goal attempts, a key component in keeping the game at striking distance. Ultimately though, Florida's defense still couldn't get off the field (USC's game-sealing 95-yard touchdown drive; Shaw's fourth-down touchdown pass) when it had to have a stop.
SPECIAL TEAMS C-
A well-designed but failed fake-punt (deep in own territory too), another shanked field goal (Austin Hardin's seventh missed kick this year), solid coverage units -- pretty much the same old, same old.
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