November 15, 2008

Opportunistic defense strikes again

Another game, another couple of interceptions.

Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia were the latest victims of the Gators' newly staunch defense as UF picked off three passes in their 56-6 rout on Saturday.

First it was Brandon Spikes with a 12-yard interception return for a touchdown, the second time he has had a interception touchdown return this season.

"If there was a play of the game," Coach Urban Meyer said, "that was it."

Safeties Ahmad Black and Will Hill were the other two who got their hands on passes.

It was Black's sixth interception of the year, a team high.

"It just happens," Black said. "You get a good break on the ball, tipped ball and overthrows."

While South Carolina - the third ranked defense nationally - was expected to be the best defensive unit on the field, it was the Gators who showed they should also be in that conversation.

"It was all around, in the locker room, the facility," Black said. "We kind of took it personal because we're a great defense."

Cornerback Joe Haden said this year's defense has a "swagger" to it.

"We feel like we had the best defense in the SEC," Haden said. "We wanted to come out and show that."

And one of the best parts, at least from Meyer's perspective, is that Spikes didn't boot it into the endzone after this interception. Meyer usually doesn't mind emotion, but he isn't a fan of excessive celebration penalties.

"Coach Meyer, he got on me the last time," Spikes said. "It was a great moment of change. The game is based on momentum. Being in The Swamp, if you make a mistake, we'll make you pay for it."

The Gamecocks debt this time was giving Spurrier his worst loss ever in The Swamp - as a player or a coach.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!