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November 16, 2013

Instant Analysis: Gators suffer fifth straight loss



COLUMBIA, S.C. - It looked promising early but familiar late for Florida (4-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) in its final conference game of the 2013 season. The Gators fell late to the No. 11 Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 SEC) 19-14 and cemented their first five-game losing streak since 1979. Instant Analysis takes a look.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: On 4th and 13 from their own 32, the Gators pulled out a fake punt attempt that saw Trey Burton attempt a pass to Leon Orr. It fell incomplete, and Florida turned the ball over on downs with 4:40 remaining I the game. South Carolina in turn made a 43-yard field goal to put the Gators in a spot where they had to score a touchdown in 2:11 That was a lost cause with this offense.

HE STOLE THE SHOW: Not often does this award go to a kicker, but for much of the evening Elliott Fry was the lone source of offense for a South Carolina team that sputtered more than normal on that side of the ball. Fry was 4 for 4 on field goals with longs of 43 and 45 yards.

THE STAT DOESN'T LIE: Because of Tyler Murphy's shoulder injury, redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg was forced to start at quarterback for the Gators. The complete lack of confidence Florida coaches had in him was palpable. Mornhinweg attempted just two passes in the first half and did not attempt a pass longer than five yards until the fourth quarter. He finished the day 10 of 13 for 107 yards and one interception and was given reigns of the most vanilla form of Brent Pease's offense.

WHAT A PLAY: It might be one of the better catches of the year in the SEC. South Carolina tight end Rory Anderson was being covered by Neiron Ball on 3rd and 9. It wasn't that Ball did a bad job, it's just that Anderson wasn't going to not catch the pass. Shaw put it up for grabs, and Anderson reached over the back of Ball's helmet, using it to trap the ball. Late help from Jaylen Watkins wasn't enough. Anderson had a 34-yard catch to set up the game-winning field goal.

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: It's tough to win a game when you're one-dimensional, and Florida was as one-dimensional as a supermodel with no personality Saturday night. The Gators simply had no faith in their pass protection against a talent-loaded Gamecocks front seven and had even less faith in the ability of Mornhinweg during what was his first collegiate game action. Florida instead went with one run after another, mostly out of jumbo fronts even though the offensive line is rattled with injuries. The run game tricks ran out in the second half, and the Gators were left with a hopeless offense.


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