Stakes high for Gamecocks in Swamp showdown

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In one of the most critical junctures of the season, South Carolina not only finds itself recovering from a tough road loss against the LSU Tigers, but recovering from injuries with several key players hurt and others fighting a flu bug.

"We've had a bunch of guys sick," said Spurrier at Wednesday's practice.

That flu bug has limited practice for wide receivers Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders, but they will likely play.

But the talk of the week hasn't been that flu bug, but instead whether or not running back Marcus Lattimore will play. Lattimore hasn't practiced all week due to a bruised hip, but will suit up for Saturday's contest.  An injured Kelcy Quarles will sit out this week's game, while Jadeveon Clowney endures a nagging foot injury, but will still play.

After suffering their first loss of the season, the Gamecocks head to Gainesville, Florida, for the last of what's been called a "Gauntlet" by college football analyst Brent Mussberger – a brutal three-week stretch of SEC games for South Carolina that includes Georgia, LSU, and now the Florida Gators.

"If we're going to win our division, which we hope to do, this is a crucial game," Spurrier said at Tuesday's press conference. "If we go on a 3-game winning streak, we can win it."

Florida has been the surprise team of the SEC this year, with media members picking them to finish third in the race for the SEC East behind Georgia and South Carolina during the league's media days back in July.

With an undefeated record and statement wins against Texas A&M, Tennessee, and LSU, Florida will be the outright favorites to win the East if they walk away with a win on Saturday.

However, if the Gamecocks win, they will hold the tie-breaking win over the Gators and the Bulldogs, which will give them a greater chance to represent the East in the SEC Championship game should they win the remainder of their conference schedule.

So the question remains, will the Gamecocks be healthy enough to tackle the Gators in the Sunshine State in a must win situation?

Kick-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.