UF notebook: Roberson suspended

Florida Gators defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (6) tackles South Carolina Gamecocks running back Mike Davis (28) during the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 16, 2013. (Doug Finger/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 12:05 a.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Starting cornerback Marcus Roberson, who was listed as probable for Saturday night's game throughout the week with a sprained ankle, was actually suspended from the game for a violation of team rules.

Roberson is the seventh UF player suspended from a game this season. The others are cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, middle linebacker Antonio Morrison, wide receivers Demarcus Robinson, defensive tackle Darious Cummings, offensive tackle Quinteze Williams and wide receiver Latroy Pittman.

Not only is Roberson a starting cornerback, he's also the Gators' No. 1 punt returner. Taking his place in both roles Saturday night was true freshman Vernon Hargreaves III.

Rare good start for UF

The Gators found themselves in rare territory Saturday night — finding themselves playing with the lead for the first time since they kicked an early field goal against LSU on Oct. 12.

Thanks to true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor and a determined effort by the defense, the Gators built a 14-6 halftime lead over the 13-point favorite Gamecocks.

The offense put together two long touchdown drives in the first half, with Taylor closing them out with scoring runs of 20 and 29 yards. On both TDs, Taylor took direct snaps after quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg motioned out of the backfield.

Kelvin isn't the only Gator tailback to have a big game at Williams-Brice Stadium. His father, Fred Taylor, rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Gators to a 48-21 victory over the Gamecocks in 1997.

In the first half Saturday night, Mornhinweg attempted only two passes, but completed both. The Gators did their damage on the ground, rushing for 169 yards against a strong USC defensive front.

Gators down in numbers

Florida's dire injury situation was reflected in the travel squad for Saturday's game.

With so many players sidelined, the Gators had only 51 scholarship players available to play in Saturday night's game. UF had several other scholarship players in uniform, but they were true freshmen who are redshirting this season.

Cheering on the Tigers

The USC fans who entered the stadium early Saturday night were treated to the Georgia-Auburn game playing on the giant replay screen in the north end zone.

The fans cheered every positive Auburn play, of course, because the Gamecocks were pulling for a Georgia loss to help keep USC's possible path to the SEC Championship Game open.

During a timeout late in the first quarter of the UF-USC game, the videoboard went back to the Auburn game for the final seconds.

On the final play, the crowd went wild when Aaron Murray was hit and his pass fell harmlessly to the turf.

With the AU win, the Gamecocks will win the Eastern Division if Missouri loses another league game.

Clowney bounces back

The rowdy crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium went silent early in the second quarter when All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney went down with an apparent leg injury.

After lying on the field for several minutes, Clowney was able to limp off the field.

The scare did not last long. Clowney returned to the field a few minutes later and appeared fine.

The Gamecocks found themselves stressing out about another possible injury in the opening minutes of the third quarter, when 1,000-yard rusher Mike Davis was shaken up. He had to be assisted off the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

This, that and the other

Two of UF's four captains Saturday night were true freshmen — linebacker Jarrad Davis and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Davis made the first start of his career. … With the Saturday night's victory, the Gamecocks ran their home winning streak to 16 games. USC last loss at Williams-Brice Stadium came against defending national champion Auburn in 2011. … The Gamecocks are bowl eligible for the 10th consecutive season. … Steve Spurrier is the all-time winningest coach at both South Carolina and Florida. Bear Bryant (Kentucky and Alabama) is the only other coach to own the most wins at two SEC schools. … Under Spurrier, the Gamecocks will be going to their 10th bowl game in 10 years. No other USC coach has taken the Gamecocks to more than three bowl games. … Connor Shaw is now tied with Todd Ellis for the school record for career wins by a starting quarterback with 24. He can own the record with a USC victory over Coastal Carolina this Saturday. Shaw is now 24-5 as a starter. … South Carolina has 14 players who are from the state of Florida. UF has no players from South Carolina. One Gator, however, had a homecoming this weekend — defensive line coach Brad Lawing, who left USC after last season to join Muschamp's coaching staff.

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