Here are the Gators’ standout performances from their 19-14 loss at South Carolina on Saturday night:
1. Kelvin Taylor, RB: The true freshman was huge in the first half, carrying the ball 13 times for a career-high 86 yards (6.6 yards per carry). He also had first-half touchdown runs of 20 and 29 yards, which were exactly the kind of big plays the Florida offense has desperately needed of late. Taylor finished with 21 rushes for 96 yards, added a 15-yard catch and run on a screen pass, and really hurt the Gamecocks on direct snaps. Like his father, Gator great Fred Taylor, Kelvin combines power and speed with good vision and some wiggle. He's a building block.
2. Offensive line: The Gators O-line was a mess one week ago against Vanderbilt when it gave up five sacks and nine tackles for loss. Faced with a much stiffer test against Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Co., UF's offensive line was stout. It wasn't asked to do much in pass protection, a season-long weakness, but the run-blocking was better than it had been in weeks. Florida played with the same five starters as last week, and each player showed improvement.
3. The coaching staff: They don't have helmets to stick them on, but UF coaches get some props for the way the Gators gave South Carolina all it could handle. After the game, Steve Spurrier scolded the local media for expecting a blowout win. And when yet another Florida starter -- QB Tyler Murphy -- was declared out before the game, it certainly seemed like a Gamecocks blowout was in the offing. Yes, the offensive game plan was run-heavy and more conservative than usual, but offensive coordinator Brent Pease had no choice but to protect redshirt freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg. Under the circumstances, Pease did an excellent job of employing various run packages, mixing in short, safe passes and generally keeping South Carolina on its heels.