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South Carolina vs. Florida Football Prediction and Preview

South Carolina (USC) vs. Florida (UF) Football Prediction and Preview

South Carolina (USC) vs. Florida (UF) Football Prediction and Preview

Both the Florida Gators and the South Carolina Gamecocks finally got their seasons underway last weekend. And the teams had very different results in their SEC openers.

Florida rolled over the Ole Miss Rebels 51-35 behind four touchdowns catches from tight end Kyle Pitts. South Carolina lost to the Tennessee Volunteers 31-27 when a punt touched the Gamecocks' Cam Smith, who was blocking on the play, and the Volunteers recovered it with 1:24 remaining.

Saturday will mark the 41st meeting between the Gators and the Gamecock, and Florida owns the all-time series edge 28-9-3. In their meeting last season in Columbia, the Gators defeated the Gamecocks 38-27.

South Carolina at Florida

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Spread: Florida -18.5

When South Carolina Has the Ball

First-time starter Collin Hill had a solid showing against the Volunteers last weekend. He completed 25-of-39 passes for 290 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Hill also got some help from receiver Shi Smith, who caught 10 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. Xavier Legette, Nick Muse, and Deshaun Fenwick also contributed to the Gamecocks passing attack, with a combined for 12 receptions for 104 yards.

If last weekend is any indication, the Gamecocks will be able to effectively move the ball against the Gators defense. In its win over Ole Miss, Florida's defense allowed 443 yards through the air. The Gators also gave up 170 yards on the ground en route to 35 points.

So look for Kevin Harris and Fenwick to get a lot a carries against a Gators defense that played below expectations in their season opener.

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When Florida Has the Ball

From an offensive standpoint, the Gators hardly could've got off to a better start. Quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns against the Rebels. Pitts was the main recipient with eight receptions for 170 yards — good for 21.2 yards per reception — and four touchdowns.

Florida was also able to rush for 195 yards against Ole Miss as they employed a running back by committee style. Kadarius Toney led the way with 55 yards on just two attempts. Dameon Pierce also chipped in with nine carries on 54 yards.

The Gators showed their depth at receiver against Ole Miss, with 11 different wideouts catching passes, including seven who hauled in multiple. Toney also displayed improvements made during the offseason in the passing game, as he caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.

South Carolina's defense allowed 133 yards on 33 carries in its loss to Tennessee. Just as the Volunteers did, look for the Gators to push the tempo on offense to catch the Gamecocks off guard.

Final Analysis

Florida and South Carolina games usually make for a close contest. Five of their last seven meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less. Saturday's game will probably be the same since both defenses have a lot of work to do entering their second game of the season.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Florida

The most alarming area for the Gators was how many missed tackles they had against Ole Miss. Sure, this year wasn't ideal when it came to fall camp, but Florida had a lot of players depart from last year's defense.

The difference in the game is going to come down to who can make a stop when it counts. Although Florida's defense has a ton of questions, their offense with Trask and Pitts certainly does not, and they should be able to move the ball against the Gamecocks defense.

Saturday will be a close game in The Swamp, but the Gators should be able to pull off the victory.

Prediction: Florida 40, South Carolina 34

Podcast: CFB Week 5 Preview + Predictions

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.