The Florida Gators will be hoping to halt a two-game losing streak when they entertain the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Florida is coming off consecutive setbacks against Georgia and Missouri. The Gamecocks, on the other hand, have won two in a row at the expense of Tennessee and Ole Miss.
South Carolina was in the midst of a quarterback controversy not too long ago, when Jake Bentley and Michael Scarnecchia occasionally split time but mostly alternated game duties stemming from respective injuries. Bentley, however, is healthy now and has started three straight contests since last sitting out on Oct. 6 against Missouri. With the junior at the helm for the last three, the Gamecocks are 2-1 with 26-23 loss to Texas A&M followed by wins over Tennessee and Ole Miss. They battled to a 48-44 road win over the Rebels last weekend, when Bentley completed 22 of 32 passes for 363 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also scored once on the ground.
“If you want to go back early in the year, we were just very inconsistent as a football team,” head coach Mike Muschamp reflected. “Offensively, I think we missed some opportunities down the field that certainly could have charged our team a little bit, would have helped our defense, would have helped our special teams, and we just, for whatever reason, didn’t hit some of those.”
Now, though, the Gamecocks are starting to capitalize on those chances. A big reason is Bentley, who has six touchdown passes over the last three outings.
Florida, on the other hand, is still featuring a few different quarterbacks. Feleipe Franks started last week’s 38-17 loss to Missouri but was pulled in the second half in favor Kyle Trask. It marked Trask’s first extended action of his career, as the sophomore completed 10 of 18 passes for 126 yards and one touchdown. Among the SEC’s 14 starting signal-callers, Franks has fallen to 12th in completion percentage (55.6), 10th in yards per attempt (7.1), and eighth in overall rating. The 6’6” sophomore, who has 25 touchdowns but also 14 interceptions in his inconsistent career, went 10-of-25 for 174 yards and one interception in Florida’s road loss to the Gamecocks last fall. Trask who missed all of the 2017 campaign with an injury. Head coach Dan Mullen’s third option, meanwhile, is Emory Jones. The true freshman has appeared twice this season, including two weeks ago against Georgia (four carriers for 12 yards).
“Confidence is the biggest thing at the quarterback position.” — @CoachDanMullen
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) November 6, 2018
“We’ll look and see how practice goes,” Mullen said earlier this week. “We might play two quarterbacks, we might play three. I want to see. We’re still putting the game plan together and I just want to see, as we put the game plan together and we go out and practice it, who gives us the best chance to win. That’s kind of how we’ve done it throughout the whole year.”
The Florida Gators are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a loss by more than 20 points
- 4-1 Under in their last five games against South Carolina
The South Carolina Gamecocks are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a win
- 0-4 ATS in their last four games following an ATS win
- 6-1 Under in their last seven road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Florida may not be set at quarterback, but both options are serviceable. Although the Gators are coming off two straight losses, they should be comfortable in the midst of three consecutive home games (this is the second of the trio). South Carolina, which does not have any especially great wins on its schedule so far, may already be looking ahead to a showdown against Clemson later this month now that any SEC East title hopes are out the window (Georgia has clinched a date with Alabama in the SEC Championship).
Prediction: Florida Gators
Full-Game Total Pick
Florida has scored only 34 points in its last two outings, with neither coming against particularly imposing defenses. The under is 6-1 in the Gamecocks’ last seven on the road, 11-4 in their last 15 against winning opponents, and 18-7 in their last 25 against the SEC. It is also 4-1 in the Gators’ last five following a loss and 13-3 in their last 16 November games. Additionally, the under is 4-1 in the last five meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to stay under the total.