Nov. 12, 2016
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — South Carolina (5-5, 3-5 SEC) tried to mount a fourth-quarter comeback, but Florida (7-2, 5-2 SEC) held on for a 20-7 victory on Saturday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Florida posted touchdowns in the first and second quarter on similar drives. Austin Appleby posted passes to cap each drive, a six-yarder to C'yontai Lewis in the first and an 18-yarder to Ahmad Fulwood in the second. Big runs set up both. Appleby scampered for 33 yards to the Gamecock 6 to set up the first score, while Jordan Scarlett started the second scoring drive with a 32-yard rush.
The Gamecock defense recovered two fumbles in the first half, shutting down Gator drives. Junior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams forced the first-quarter fumble at the South Carolina 20, and junior cornerback Jamarcus King covered it to give the Gamecocks back the ball. In the second quarter, Allen-Williams picked up the fumbled snap at the Gamecock 14, stopping a Gator drive deep into SC's territory.
Florida had one last shot before the end of the half after a holding penalty brought back Florida's punt return to the Gamecock 47. Senior linebacker T.J. Holloman picked off the Appleby pass, halting the Gators' momentum and keeping Florida's lead at 14-0 at halftime.
Eddy Pineiro hit two field goals in the third quarter, a career-best-tying 54-yarder halfway through followed by a 36-yarder with 52 seconds left in the period, making Florida's lead 20-0.
The Gamecocks scored with just under seven minutes to play, as junior running back David Williams punched in a one-yard run, getting South Carolina within two scores, 20-7. Junior running back Rod Talley made two catches and three runs on the 11-play drive, 80-yard drive, posting two first downs, including a 19-yard catch on fourth-and-6 to set up the touchdown.
South Carolina stopped Florida with 2:58 remaining and started driving, taking the ball to the Gators' 11 before turning it over on downs after two incomplete passes. That sealed the Gators' victory.
The Gator defense limited South Carolina's chances throughout the game, holding the Gamecocks to 256 yards, 151 of those coming on the Gamecocks' final two drives.
Scarlett led Florida's offensive attack with 134 yards on 20 carries.
In his first career road start, Bentley went 18-for-33 for 213 yards. Florida intercepted one Bentley toss, the first of the freshman's career.
The Gamecock offense was held under 50 yards rushing for the third time this season.
Senior Darius English had 10 tackles for the Gamecocks to lead the way.
Allen-Williams had a hand in both Gamecock fumble pickups, forcing the first and recovering the second.
Quoting Head Coach Will Muschamp
Give Jim McElwain and the University of Florida's football team credit. They certainly responded off of last week's game as I knew those guys in that locker room would. They came out and played very well defensively during the game. Defensively for us, extremely disappointed. We continued to struggle with some things in the run game, we had guys miss tackles, some missed leverages. We had three third downs in the first half that we didn't convert, which is critical in order to get off the field in those situations. As poorly as things have gone, it's a 14-point game at halftime and you've got every opportunity in the world to capitalize on some things but we never got over the hump. Our guys fought their butts off to put themselves back in the game, but we didn't handle the moment very well early in the game as a football team and that was very evident.
The Gamecocks host Western Carolina on Sat., Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. EST.
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