COLUMBIA, SC – In the 7th all-time matchup between current South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier and his former team, the University of Florida Gators, South Carolina came away with an ugly 17-12 win on Saturday afternoon. Florida’s 5th year senior quarterback John Brantley threw for only 119 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Gators’ senior running back Chris Rainey did manage to rush for 132 yards on only 17 carries, but it was not enough as Florida’s offense faltered time and time again throughout the course of the ballgame, including missing on a critical 2-point conversion that would have tied the game early in the 4th Quarter after freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. Florida was playing a South Carolina team without its superstar running back Marcus Lattimore, who was lost earlier in the season with a season-ending knee injury, and without Stephen Garcia, the embattled senior quarterback who was finally thrown off the team a few weeks back after having been suspended numerous times for a variety of off the field incidents over the course of his career at South Carolina.
This is as low as it has gotten for the Florida Gators football program in almost a quarter century, and 1st year Florida head coach Will Muschamp is continually facing the difficulty of trying to fit previous Florida head coach Urban Meyer’s players into Muschamp’s various football schemes, especially on offense. However, following the game, Muschamp said “I see a lot of improvement regardless of the results”, a statement that may not sit too well with Florida football fans who are used to dominating the SEC’s Eastern Division year in and year out. This marks the second time in a row that Florida has lost to South Carolina and formers Gators head coach Steve Spurrier, and the 3rd time since 2005, which was Spurrier’s first year at South Carolina, and which coincidentally was also Urban Meyer’s first year coaching at Florida, the man that later brought 2 national championships (2006 and 2008) to the Gators before resigning after the 2010 college football season, citing health issues as his reason for doing so.
Yesterday’s loss at South Carolina means that Florida will finish this season with a losing record within SEC play (3-5). It is the first time that Florida has had a losing record within SEC play since 1986, and with a current overall record of 5-5, Florida still needs one more win to become bowl eligible this season. Florida’s final two games of the regular season will come at home in Gainesville, facing FCS football division school Furman next week, followed by a showdown with arch rival Florida State the week after that. Should the Gators somehow lose both of their final two regular season games, they will not be bowl eligible for the first time since 1990, when they were banned from bowl eligibility that year due to NCAA violations. In an ironic twist, 1990 also happened to be Steve Spurrier’s first season coaching at Florida, his alma mater.