USC had history in its hands entering the fourth quarter of Saturday’s rain-soaked game at Williams-Brice Stadium. Seeking consecutive wins over top 10 teams for the first time, the Gamecocks owned a 20-17 lead and the ball with 15 minutes to play. But with former USC and Florida coach Steve Spurrier in attendance, the Gators were not going to let their names go into the record books. They scored touchdowns on three straight possessions while their defense snuffed out the Gamecocks’ offense and went on to a 38-27 win. The win keeps alive Florida’s hopes for the SEC East at 4-1, 7-1 overall. The Gamecocks fall to 2-3 in the league and 3-4 overall.
Here’s my RECAP from Williams-Brice Stadium
Here are some of the key points from Florida’s win
- The game turned on a fourth and three from the Gamecock 34 on Florida’s first possession of the fourth quarter. Under pressure, Gator quarterback Kyle Trask completed a nine yard pass to keep the drive alive. The next play Trask hit a 25 yard scoring pass to give the Gators’ their first lead. That charged up the Florida defense as well, and the Gators forced a Ryan Hilinski fumble on the Gamecocks’ next possession which they recovered at the USC 29. Three plays later, Trask was picked off by Jaycee Horn in the end zone, but Horn was flagged for holding. On the next play, Trask hit on a five yard touchdown pass for a 31-20 lead. Next possession, the Gators stopped the Gamecocks on downs at the USC 38. They scored six plays later to put the game away.
- Fourth quarter field position was critical during Florida’s run. The Gator’s first three possessions, all ending with touchdowns, started at their own 48, the USC 29 and the USC 37 respectively.
- Will Muschamp was hot over the officiating, so much so he drew a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty in the fourth quarter. Did he have a beef? Apparently officials missed a key motion penalty on a Florida lineman, a pick-play on a Florida touchdown reception and a hold downfield on a long Florida touchdown run.
- Trask was the better quarterback on this rainy Saturday. He settled in after missing his first three passes then hit 9 of his next 11. He finished 21 of 33 for 200 yards and a career high four touchdown passes. Hilinski hit on his first three passes, including a 46 yarder to Bryan Edwards, but was good on only eight of his first 22. He was better in the final half of the fourth quarter, but by then the game was out of reach. He finished 17 of 35 for 170 yards with one touchdown. And the Gators, who came in with 26 sacks, got to Hilinski three times.
- The Gamecocks had momentum and crowd emotion on their side after a 21 yard Tavien Feaster touchdown run for a 17-10 lead in the third quarter. The defense had a chance to deliver a punch, but on Florida’s first play Dameon Pierce ran thru the defense for a 75 yard touchdown. Now, Gamecock corner Israel Mukuamu, who was chasing Pierce, said he was held all the way down the field by the Florida receiver blocking him, a contention that seemed to be supported by video. He added that the officials must not have seen it.
- Feaster got most of the work at running back after starter Rico Dowdle left the game with a knee injury after an eight yard gain on the game’s first play. He finished with a career high 175 yards on 25 carries.
- Edwards had another productive day with seven catches for 78 yards. Edwards now has 203 receptions for his career, four short of the school record.
- Final Stats
What the Gamecocks said after the game
Ernest Jones & Israel Mukuamu