Florida’s defense proved Saturday night that it is still a top notch bunch despite injuries and little offensive support in the 19-14 loss to USC. But the bigger question for the Gamecocks is was last night’s offensive struggles due to Florida’s prowess or more symptomatic of an offense regressing?
The Gamecocks managed 377 total yards but quarterback Connor Shaw was only 14 of 28 thru the air for 213 yards. And he seldom was able to find running room as Steve Spurrier stayed away from calling the run off the zone read. Shaw managed just 3 yards rushing on 8 carries.
Star running back Mike Davis did break off a 23 yard run but had just 31 more yards on 12 additional carries. Davis suffered an ankle injury during the game that forced him on and off the field. And with Brandon Wilds out with a hamstring injury, the Gamecocks turned to Shon Carson who responded with the best outing of his career with 102 yards including a career best 58 yard run that led to the go ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.
The Gamecocks managed just one touchdown on the night, a fourth down 32 yard pass to Bruce Ellington early in the third quarter. Five other times they drove inside the Gators’ 30 yard line but had to call on placekicker Elliott Fry. He hit on four of those field goals including 45 and 43 yarders. It was his two fourth quarter boots that provided the Gamecocks’ with their winning points.
The Gamecocks finish the SEC season at 6-2 for the third straight year. They are 8-2 overall with home games left against Coastal Carolina and Clemson. They need Missouri to lose one of their last two games, against Ole Miss and Texas A&M, to claim their second SEC East title and a spot in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta December 7th.