The Gators went into Columbia needing a win to have a chance at the SEC East title. The Gators had to play the game without star wide out Percy Harvin because he was in Gainesville with a sinus infection and Migraine headaches. The Gators would need to lean on Tebow to win the game, and he accepted the challenge and dominated South Carolina. Tebow accounted for all 7 of the Gator touchdowns, running for 5 and throwing for 2. His numbers could have been even better as Murphy dropped an easy touchdown pass and James fumbled inside the 10 yard line going in. If there was any doubt that Tebow is the most important part of the team, the South Carolina game put an end to that.
After their run defense being exploited last week against Arkansas the formula to beat the Gamecocks was simple, run the ball. The problem the gators have is that Harvin had been their run game because Kestahn Moore has been inconsistent at best and Brandon James just does not have the experience. Not having Harvin in the game altered the game plan from the start, but the Gators adjusted and Tebow led the way on offense. The Gators managed a running game that was not exclusively Tewbow by using James and Jarred Fayson in running situations. James showed some of the same explosion running the ball that he does on kick returns, but he did put the ball on the turf a couple times, which is the reason that Moore was benched.
The Gator defense came out fired up in the beginning of the game and got a fumble and blocked a punt that both led to touchdowns, which gave the Gators a 14 point lead after only 4 minutes in the first quarter. Brandon Spikes had a great game not only tackling, but in coverage. He tipped 3 passes, one was intercepted, one Cory Boyd made a great catch on, and the final one was knocked down in the end zone. This defense has taken a lot of heat all season, especially with their play on the road, but they came up big in this game at the right times. They did give up some big plays in the passing game with busted coverages, but for the most part they were able to stop the Gamecock offense from staying on the field for sustaining drives.
The Gators needed to win this game to keep their SEC title hopes alive and they came out swinging. They now will have to sit back and hope that Kentucky can beat Georgia and either Kentucky or Vanderbilt can beat Tennessee so that they can go to Atlanta. The Gators finished the SEC season with a 5-3 record. They will finish the season against FAU and FSU at home and then will await a bowl game.