Gators can't sustain momentum

Florida Gators defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (6) wipes his face between plays against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 16, 2013.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 10:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 10:55 p.m.

First quarter

Play of the quarter: If you were going to dial up a play that could not work, it would have been to go with a wildcat formation on third and 14 from the opponents’ 20-yard line. That’s what Florida did and it worked. Kelvin Taylor took the direct snap, cut outside and then made a nifty move inside to score and give Florida a 7-3 lead with 3:03 remaining in the quarter.

Stat of the quarter: In the first start, uh, the first action of his career, Florida didn’t ask Skyler Mornhinweg to do a lot. He only threw one pass — a three-yard completion on a bubble screen to Ahmad Fulwood — on Florida’s only drive of the quarter, but the Gators rushed for 74 yards on the drive.

Trending: Since leading 3-0 at LSU, Florida had shown a knack for starting slowly. The Gators had been outscored 72-29 in their last three games in the first quarter and a South Carolina field goal made it 75-29. But UF’s touchdown drive meant the Gators had actually won a first quarter for the first time since Oct. 12.

Scoring: Elliott Fry booted a 25-yard field goal on South Carolina’s opening drive to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead. Taylor’s touchdown, the third of his short career at UF, gave Florida a 7-3 lead.

Second quarter

Play of the quarter: Once again, Florida went to the wildcat (later in the quarter it would backfire with Trey Burton taking the snap) and again Taylor made a sweet cut to get into the secondary and ran it in for a touchdown from 29 yards out. The score gave Florida a 14-6 lead with 10:51 remaining in the first half.

Stat of the quarter: Did we wake up back in the 1950s? Mornhinweg threw one pass in the second quarter, a 5-yard completion to Gideon Ajagbe. That made him 2-for-2 in the game for eight yards.

Trending: Taylor was seldom used early in the season when Florida had a healthy Matt Jones, but he has come on in the last two games. In his last 14 quarters, Taylor has rushed 59 times for 282 yards with four touchdowns. He finished the first half with 86 rushing yards.

Scoring. Fry made a 45-yard field goal on the fourth play of the quarter to pull South Carolina within a point, but Taylor’s run gave Florida a 14-6 lead. Fry missed a 38-yard field goal attempt with 1:31 left in the first half.

Third quarter

Play of the quarter: South Carolina faced a fourth-and-3 on the Florida 32 on its first possession of the second half when Connor Shaw rolled right and saw Florida’s defense had jumped the short pass. So he threw it into the end zone where Bruce Ellington was and UF’s Brian Poole misplayed the ball. The result was a South Carolina touchdown.

Stat of the quarter: After throwing for only eight yards in the first half, Florida aired it out in the third quarter. Not really. But the Gators did manage 35 passing yards, mainly because of a 28-yard screen pass to Mack Brown.

Trending: The Gamecocks were able to slow down the Gator rushing attack. Figuring Florida wouldn’t throw it, South Carolina stacked its front and Florida had only 18 rushing yards in the quarter, eight of them coming from the seldom-used fullback Hunter Joyer.

Scoring: Shaw’s touchdown pulled South Carolina to within a point with 10:23 remaining in the quarter. Florida had a nice drive to answer, but Austin Hardin pulled a 32-yard field goal attempt with 3:13 left in the quarter.

Fourth quarter

Play of the quarter: With a first down on their own 5-yard line, the Gamecocks started a drive that would lead to the winning field goal. The first play was the biggest, a 58-yard burst up the middle by running back Shon Carson to the Florida 37-yard line. It was another example of Florida needing a stop and not being able to get one.

Stat of the quarter: Although Florida did a decent job on Mike Davis, Carson killed them in the fourth quarter. He rushed for 84 yards in the final 15 minutes, which was more than Florida was able to generate on offense in the quarter until the final drive.

Trending: The losing streak continues to mount. That’s five in a row for the Gators, the first time Florida has lost that many in a row since the 0-10-1 season of 1979. Florida looked for three quarters like it might steal a win and become bowl eligible but that didn’t happen.

Scoring: The Gamecocks took the lead when Fry made a 22-yard field goal after replay officials upheld the ruling on the field that Shaq Roland was out of bounds on a catch in the end zone. South Carolina fans responded by throwing trash onto the field before Fry’s kick. Fry added another field goal from 43 yards out after Florida failed on a fourth-down play.

Final score: 19-14, South Carolina won its school-record 16th straight at home.

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