Scouting USC’s next opponent: Florida Gators

October 14, 2012 

GAME: Florida, 3:30 p.m., Saturday



SERIES: Florida leads 23-6-3

LAST YEAR: South Carolina won 17-12 at Williams-Brice Stadium, the second consecutive win in the series for the Gamecocks. Tailback Brandon Wilds rushed for 120 yards, and quarterback Connor Shaw rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The defense held the Gators to 261 yards. Before USC’s last two wins, the Gators had won 17-of-18 in SEC play between the two programs.

COACH: Will Muschamp. The third youngest head coach in the SEC, the 41-year-old Muschamp has compiled a 13-6 mark midway through his second season. Muschamp’s first campaign for the Gators produced the school’s 24th straight winning season and their 32nd consecutive season of .500 or better -- the longest streaks in the nation. He played college football at Georgia (1991-94).

QUICK TAKE: The Gators have played well so far, with impressive wins over Texas A&M (20-17) on the road and LSU (14-6) at home. They began the season No. 23 in the Top 25 and have steadily climbed each week to their current spot. By winning its 22nd consecutive game against Vanderbilt 31-17 on the road Saturday -- a streak against the Commodores that started in 1999 -- Florida claimed its fifth SEC win of this season, its most in league play since the 2009 season when it went unbeaten in league play. The Gators rolled over the Commodores by rushing for 326 yards on 35 carries (9.3-yard average) and three touchdowns.

GATOR CHOMP: The Florida defense gave up its first points in the fourth quarter this season when Vanderbilt scored 10 over the weekend, but the Gators have still outscored their opponents by 54-10 in the final period. They also hold a 44-13 edge in the third quarter. … Florida’s .874 (125-18) winning percentage at “The Swamp” since 1990 ranks No. 2 in the nation. That stretch includes a 41-3 record against the SEC East. One of those losses came to USC in 2010. … The game against No. 9 USC at “The Swamp” in Gainesville will be featured on ESPN’s College GameDay and shown live on CBS.

S.C. CONNECTIONS: Florida has no South Carolinians on its roster.


QB JEFF DRISKEL: The 6-4, 237-pound sophomore stepped into the starting lineup against Texas A&M in the second game and has performed well since that point. He has completed 74-of-111 passes for 836 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception. Against Vanderbilt, he carried the ball 11 times for a career-high 177 yards (16.1 avg.) and had three rushing touchdowns for the first time in his career. He broke the single-game rushing record for a quarterback set by Tim Tebow in 2007.

RB MIKE GILLISLEE: The 5-11, 209-pound senior has rushed for 615 yards and seven touchdowns. He gained 146 yards on 34 carries against a tough LSU defense.

LB JONATHAN BOSTIC: The 6-1, 246-pound senior has compiled 33 tackles, six for loss, with three sacks. He is the team’s career active leader in tackles in his 25 starts for the Gators.

K CALEB STURGIS: The 5-11, 184-pound senior has already connected on 11 field goals this season, including a pair of 51-yarders. He has kicked 57-of-73 field goals in his career, second-most in school history, as well as a record seven field goals over 50 yards or better. He also is 114-of-119 on extra points in his career.

- Compiled by Neil White

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