Florida QB Treon Harris has completed less than half his passes in the past three games against top-25 defenses (No. 14 Georgia, No. 19 Vanderbilt, No. 23 LSU), so he really must be looking forward to facing South Carolina’s struggling secondary on Saturday.

The Gamecocks are far down the defensive rankings (90th), and have been picked on all season by SEC passing attacks. Harris’ numbers – just 37 of 75 passing in the past month – should most certainly go up.

The glass-half-full way to look at Harris’ three starts is that UF has won two SEC games and lost the other at LSU,  a top-10 team, by only seven points.

The other way to look at it, with Harris’ low completion percentage, is that the Gators are relying far too much on special teams and their defense to win games. Florida beat Vanderbilt, but only 9-7 in a game that was offensive struggle from start to finish.

Florida coach Jim McElwain chose to praise Vanderbilt’s defense rather than criticizing his quarterback, who went 12-for-24 with only 158 yards passing.

“I told you, did I not? How good they are,” McElwain said of the Commodores defense last Saturday. “And I don’t think anybody believed me. They took it to us.”

But South Carolina, Florida’s next opponent, has a way of helping conference quarterbacks pad their stats, most often in completion percentage. Harris should find things a bit easier this week. Everyone else has.

Here’s what SEC quarterbacks have done through the air against  the South Carolina defense:

  • Patrick Towles, Kentucky: 21-of-29, 192 yards, INT
  • Greyson Lambert, Georgia: 24-of-25, 330 yards, 3 TD
  • Drew Lock, Missouri: 21-of-28, 136 yards, 2 TD
  • Brandon Harris, LSU: 18-of-28, 228 yards, 2 TD
  • Johnny McCrary, Vanderbilt: 21-of-42, 177 yards, TD, 3 INT
  • Kyler Murray, Texas A&M: 20-of-28, 223 yards, TD
  • Josh Dobbs, Tennessee: 20-of-34, 255 yards, 2 TD, INT

In the cases of Lambert, Lock, Harris and Murray, their numbers against South Carolina were the best they’ve posted all season.  If a backup freshman quarterback can lead Missouri’s offense, which is ranked No. 125 out of 127 teams in the FBS, to three touchdowns against South Carolina, Harris and the Gators should be in good shape.

The sophomore quarterback is well aware that when UF and its No. 11 ranking show up in Columbia, it will bring out a special energy in the opposing team and crowd, potentially giving the defense a boost.

“They’re going to have a big environment just because the Gators are coming up there,” Harris said at a recent media opportunity.

Harris’ best game this season came in the SEC’s most feared environment, LSU’s Death Valley. If the Florida signal-caller can feed off the energy in Williams-Brice Stadium, he should find a favorable matchup.