Gamecocks Beat Florida 28-20 With Videos, Galleries, Stats, Box Score & More
GCF Staff Report
November 11, 2017
South Carolina 28, Florida 20
POST-GAME: Will Muschamp on Florida — 11/11/17
POST-GAME: A.J. Turner, Jake Bentley on Florida — 11/11/17
POST-GAME: Javon Kinlaw, Taylor Stallworth on Florida — 11/11/17
POST-GAME: Rashad Fenton on Florida — 11/11/17
POST-GAME: Mon Denson on Florida — 11/11/17
SCORE BY QUARTERSTeam 1st 2nd 3rd 4th TotalFlorida 0 13 0 7 20South Carolina 14 7 7 0 28 PASSING LEADERSFlorida COM ATT YDS TD INTFeleipe Franks 10 25 174 0 1Malik Zaire 7 14 49 0 0South Carolina COM ATT YDS TD INTJake Bentley 19 29 249 0 3RUSHING LEADERSFlorida CAR YDS AVG TD LGMark Thompson 3 35 11.7 1 31Lamical Perine 6 24 4.0 1 18South Carolina CAR YDS AVG TD LGA.J. Turner 22 136 6.2 0 27Mon Denson 13 61 4.7 2 24RECEIVING LEADERSFlorida REC YDS AVG TD LGBrandon Powell 5 58 11.6 0 17Kadarius Toney 3 37 12.3 0 23South Carolina REC YDS AVG TD LGOrTre Smith 5 60 12.0 0 23Hayden Hurst 5 59 11.8 0 23
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — In a season of one dominant team and a bunch of disappointments in the SEC East, resilient South Carolina figured out another way to win, overcoming four turnovers to beat Florida 28-20 on Saturday and reach heights the Gamecocks have rarely achieved.
South Carolina (7-3, 5-3 Southeastern) can't win what would have been only been its second SEC East title. But the Gamecocks will finish with only its eighth winning SEC record in 26 seasons in the league.
Second year coach Will Muschamp has his Gamecocks embracing what he calls a ''So What? Now what?'' philosophy, and his quarterback Jake Bentley personified it, shaking off three interceptions to throw for 249 yards and run for two touchdowns .
''At the end of the day, we won,'' the sophomore said. ''It's better to learn from something with a W.''
A Florida team in disarray with a fired coach and no wins since September couldn't take advantage of the help. The Gators (3-6, 3-5) will finish with a losing SEC record for only the third time since 1992.
Interim coach Randy Shannon said he was proud his team kept fighting after a 35-point loss against Georgia led to the firing of Jim McElwain two weeks ago, and Shannon's debut was a 29-point loss to Missouri. But he understands it still isn't enough as Florida will miss a bowl game for only the third time in 31 seasons.
''Is this up to the expectations of this program? No. We wanted to win. There are no moral victories,'' Shannon said.
A.J. Turner ran 22 times for 136 yards and Mon Denson rushed for the first two touchdowns of his career as South Carolina had its best offensive game of the season with 469 yards.
In a common theme this season, the Gamecocks defense also came through. The Gators converted as many fourth downs (2 for 2) as third downs (2 for 15). And the defense ended Florida's last chance when defensive back Jamyest Williams picked off a tipped pass near midfield with just over a minute to go.
''Two years ago, we're a 3-9 football team. The investment you've made to get to this point, I'm damn proud of you,'' Muschamp told his team in the locker room after the win.
QUOTING COACH MUSCHAMP
“Well we made it probably a little bit more interesting than it needed to be. Coach (Ray) Tanner has been complaining about concessions, so I figured we’d keep some people around until the end of the game. Really proud of our football team. The last two weeks, the Vanderbilt game and Georgia game, were two very physical games. We had a bunch of guys that took very sparingly reps throughout the week. D.J. Smith wasn’t able to go in pregame. Dante Sawyer was limping on one leg. We’re like everybody else in the country right now. We’re really beat up, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I though we moved the ball extremely well. We stayed balance – did exactly what we wanted to do. We ran the ball extremely well. Jake had a couple throws – we had a miscommunication coming off the goal line on the ball there. We’ve got to take a sack or throw the ball away on the one wheel route on our sideline. You can’t throw a pick in that situation. Then the ball in the end zone I don’t think he saw the safety. You can ask him, but the guy made a heck of a play. Chauncey (Gardener Jr.) came out of the top and intercepted the ball. We were much better on third down defensively. I thought we stopped the run other than two runs. The power play on the nub side, on the backside – I thought we played the runs well for the most part. Our guys continue to fight and play hard in the game. We made the plays when we needed to make the plays – huge interception there at the end. Give Florida credit – those kids have been through an awful lot. It’s a very difficult thing to go through what those young men are facing and I hate it for those guys. They’ve got a bunch of good kids in that locker room, and it’s a tough situation they’re going through right now. I told our team all week that this team is going to come out and fight and play hard. I know those guys. They represented Florida extremely well today.”
Florida leads the all-time series 26-9-3, but the Gamecocks have won three of the last five meetings and are 4-1 at home since 2011.
South Carolina captains for the game were #3 Chris Lammons, #8 D.J. Wonnum, #10 Skai Moore and #81 Hayden Hurst.
Attendance for the game was announced at 79,727.
With the win, the Gamecocks finished with five or more conference wins for the eighth time in program history. It also guarantees the team at least a share of second place in the SEC East.
The Gamecocks were flagged just three times for 26 yards, compared to 10 for 56 on Florida. This is the fifth game with three penalties or less in a game.
With South Carolina holding a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Jake Bentley’s pass was intercepted by CJ Henderson at the Gamecock 25-yard line. Henderson returned it to the South Carolina 1-yard line, but the ball was poked away by Hayden Hurst and picked up by A.J. Turner to the Gamecock 24. Although they didn’t score, the Gamecocks kept the lead and added to it on a Mon Denson 24-yard rush towards the end of the first quarter.
242 – South Carolina produced a season-high 469 yards on 76 offensive plays in the win over Florida. A.J. Turner ran for a career-high 136 yards while Mon Denson added 61 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Bentley was 19-for-29 for 249 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
The Gamecocks continue their three-game regular-season-ending homestand by hosting the Wofford Terriers out the FCS Southern Conference, on Saturday, November 18. South Carolina leads the all-time series by a 19-4 count, including a 17-2 advantage when the games have been played in Columbia. The Gamecocks have won each of the last 16 meetings between these two Palmetto State schools, with Wofford’s last win coming in the 1917 season. Carolina was a 24-7 winner in 2012, the last time they met.
From USC Sports Information
Will Muschamp updates Shi Smith, D.J. Smith injuries
South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp updated the injuries for Shi Smith and D.J. Smith, after his team’s 28-20 win against Florida.
Wide receiver Shi Smith got poked in the eye and could not focus. He suffered it in the first half and did not return. He had one catch, a 26-yarder to set up a touchdown.
Safety D.J. Smith tried to go, but a lingering hip injury kept him out. Muschamp also noted defensive end Dante Sawyer was limping by game’s end.
What was good, what was bad: USC vs. Florida
What was good
The running game
USC got rolling on the ground with a season-high 220 yards on 4.7 yards per carry. A.J. Turner led the way with a career-best 136.
Third down defense
Coming into the game, South Carolina was allowing opponents to convert better than 45 percent of their third-down tries, which ranked in the 100s nationally. Florida converted only 2-of-15.
Big Play Day
Florida’s defense was prone to giving up explosive plays, and South Carolina took full advantage. The Gamecocks had eight runs of 11-plus yards and six passes of 15-plus.
Big man moving
Javon Kinlaw had a good day with four tackles, one for loss, but his best moment came against a pass. Specifically, a screen he ran down in the flat, moving 300 pounds at great speed, enough for teammate Rashad Fenton to call it “a wonder.”
What was bad
Jake Bentley threw three picks. One could argue one was a miscommunication and another was a good defensive play, but USC still could’ve done more if not for that and a muffed punt.
That one pass
South Carolina allowed only two third-down conversions, but one was a doozy. On fourth-and-4 in the fourth quarter, Florida’s Feleipe Franks escaped pressure and heaved the ball to two players that got behind USC’s defense. The 63-yard gain set up a touchdown to make it a one-score game.
South Carolina is usually good at not allowing big plays, but gave up four runs of 15 or more yards and four passes of 17 or more yards, including gains of 37 and 63.
Bentley was sacked three times early, often holding the ball to make a play. It was the start of the up-and-down day for South Carolina’s signal caller.