The Gameday Series: ESPN Returns to UF

Florida Plays its First Complete Game to Rout South Carolina 44-11

October 21, 2012

If it had been a night game, the lights of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium would've paled in comparison to the spotlight that was on the Gators this week. The players might want to make sure they aren't half-human, half-plant considering how well they converted that light into energy when the game kicked off at 3:40 p.m. The only time the game was in question was when the score was tied at zero - a score that changed quickly and often.

The first play from scrimmage set the tone for the entire game. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw was looking left as a blitz from the right was unchecked. Loucheiz Purifoy entered the backfield with the intent to hit Shaw for a sack, but an unprotected ball and an unknowing QB changed his mind for him. He swatted the ball out of Shaw's hands with gusto, causing the ball to bounce around on the field for a longer time than it was in SC's possession. The Gators recovered and scored three plays later with only 59 seconds off the clock.

It was such a good day for UF that not even penalties could keep them down long. A "Roughing the Snapper" penalty on a South Carolina punt extended the Gamecocks' drive, eventually resulting in SC's only points of the first quarter, a field goal. In the second quarter, a perfectly executed play-action pass that was caught with one hand in the back of the endzone was nullified by a chop block. Later in the half, an interception by Jelani Jenkins (who caught it despite having one arm in a cast) was taken away by an offsides call.

If there's one thing bigger than penalties that affect a game, though, it's turnovers. What the Gators lacked in discipline they more than made up for in hunger for the ball. Getting three fumbles and an interception while not turning the ball over once is a surefire way to win any football game, and that was proven true by the Gators, who at one point had three passing touchdowns despite gaining only 16 yards through the air.

The Gators were unstoppable in the Swamp. Dubbed as a place where "only gators get out alive" by the head coach across the field, Will Muschamp's team came to prove that true after the Gators lost five times at home in the two seasons before, one of which was a homecoming game. It took UF the entire season and a bowl to win seven games last year; they've done that feat in half the time this season.