The preseason rap on Florida's running game was that the Gators might finally have found a "home-run hitter" to complement Kelvin Taylor in Jordan Scarlett and/or Jordan Cronkrite. But against South Carolina on Saturday, the Gators headed to the top of the ninth needing to protect a dwindling lead.
And Taylor went yard.
Florida's junior running back steamed 53 yards up the middle on a critical third down and punched in a touchdown on the game's next play to give Florida breathing room — and stake the Gators to the 24-14 lead that would become the final score.
Taylor tallied 105 yards on 21 carries on the day, his big run accounting for more than half of his yardage on a day when the Gators struggled to consistently move the ball. Treon Harris threw for 256 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions, including one on a horrific throw that ended a red zone possession. Jordan Cronkrite caught that touchdown pass, wresting it away from a South Carolina defender, and also had six carries for 24 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
This game, though, was in hand until it wasn't, and then quickly back in hand again. Florida led 14-0 at halftime and 17-0 entering the fourth quarter, thanks to stellar defense, before Pharoh Cooper and Perry Orth completed touchdown passes to each other to cut the lead to 17-14.
On the subsequent drive, Taylor answered, and on South Carolina's attempt to slice that 10-point lead, Quincy Wilson picked off an Orth pass to end the threat.
With the win, Florida moves to 9-1, and completes a sweep of the SEC East. No SEC team can post a better record in conference play in the 2015 regular season than the Gators.