COLUMBIA, S.C. — Unlike last week, Florida gave South Carolina all it could handle before falling 28-20 Saturday, the Gators’ fifth consecutive defeat.
This one came to former coach Will Muschamp. Ironically, UF losses to South Carolina in the series this century have come with former Gator coaches leading the Gamecocks.
UF falls to 3-6 overall and ends the SEC schedule at 3-5. South Carolina, already bowl bound, improved to 7-3, 5-3.
It didn’t take long for South Carolina to take a 7-0 lead against Florida on Saturday.
After the Gators went three-and-out on the first offensive series of the game, the Gamecocks put together a seven-play, 74-yard march that quarterback Jake Bentley capped with a four-yard run at the 11:30 mark of the first quarter.
Crazy sequence of plays denied the Gators an opportunity to score points. Cornerback CJ Henderson intercepted a Bentley pass and returned it inside the Gamecocks 5-yard line before fumbling. Carolina recovered in the end zone and returned it 24 yards.
Brandon Powell again with a muffed punt to give South Carolina a first down at the UF 13. But safety Chauncey Gardner Jr. saved the Gators this time by intercepting Bentley and returning it 46 yards to the UF 47.
A 24-yard run up the gut by Mon Denson capped a six-play, 75-yard march to give Carolina a 14-0 lead at the 2:08 mark of the first quarter.
Florida recovered a muffed punt by South Carolina at the Gamecock 38. It’s UF’s first fumble recovery of the season.
Quarterback Malik Zaire and Kadarius Toney teamed up for a 23-yard pass play to set UF up in the red zone.
There were five turnovers in the first quarter.
Florida 0 0 0 0 — x
S. Carolina 14 0 0 0 — x
Eddy Pineiro’s 29-yard field goal gives UF its first points
Mark Thompson with a 31-yard run for UF. Zaire then gains 23 yards but is injured on the play, setting UF at the Carolina 14.
After one play, Zaire returned and went down again with the leg injury.
Pineiro’s 37-yard field goal at 7:47 brings the Gators within 14-6.
Denson put South Carolina up 21-6 at the 3:40 mark of the second quarter, the 12-yard scoring run capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
Feleipe Franks takes over for good at QB for the injured Zaire, who is on the sidelines wearing a brace on his left knee. Franks immediately teamed up with Josh Hammond for a 37-yard gain.
Center T.J. McCoy is injured for the Gators. He suffered a left foot injury.
Lamichal Perine breaks off an 18-yard TD run to bring UF within 21-13, capping a seven-play, 75-yard drive with 1:18 left in the quarter.
Florida 0 13 0 0 — x
S. Carolina 14 7 0 0 — x
Yet another Gator went down with an injury, this time it’s freshman defensive end Elijah Conliffe. Because of suspensions and injuries, the Gators brought just 56 scholarship players to Columbia.
Linebacker Vosean Joseph intercepts Bentley to end another South Carolina drive.
In case you are wondering, walk-on Nick Sproles is UF’s No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart today.
Bentley put the Gamecocks up 28-13 with 2:08 left in the third quarter when he ran in from seven yards out to cap a six-play, 53-yard drive.
Florida 0 13 0 0 — x
S. Carolina 14 7 7 0 — x
Parker White missed a 47-yard field goal attempt for the Gamecocks when the ball hit the upright.
Franks hit tight end Moral Stephens for a 63-yard pass to the South Carolina 1. Mark Thompson scored on the next play to bring the score to South Carolina 28-20 with 3:43 left in the game.
Franks’ pass is intercepted and South Carolina takes over with 1:06 to end the game.
Florida 0 13 0 7 — 20
South Carolina 14 7 7 0 — 28