Turnovers Cost Gamecocks In 44-11 Loss at Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No.
9/8 South Carolina was unable to overcome three costly first-half
turnovers as it fell to No. 3/4 Florida, 44-11, on Saturday afternoon
at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The Gamecocks turned the ball over three times in the first half deep
in their own territory, which led to 21 points for the Gators.
With the loss, South Carolina falls to 6-2 on the season and 4-2 in SEC
play. It is the Gamecocks’ first lost against a SEC Eastern Division
opponent since 2010 at Kentucky. The Gators move to 7-0 overall and 6-0
in the conference.
South Carolina outgained the Gators 191-183 in total offense, but four
turnovers allowed Florida to finish the contest with an average
starting field position of the 50-yard line.
Senior placekicker Adam Yates made field goals of 35, 51 and 30 yards
to score the majority of South Carolina’s points, while sophomore
defensive back Victor Hampton returned a blocked extra point attempt
for two points on Florida’s first score of the second half.
Sophomore quarterback Dylan Thompson led South Carolina with 83 yards
passing, while junior Connor Shaw had 72 yards through the air.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel completed 11-of-16 passes for 93 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Gators.
Defensively, senior linebacker Reginald Bowens tied a career high with
11 tackles to lead the Gamecocks, while senior spur DeVonte Holloman
added eight tackles and a sack. Defensive ends Devin Taylor and
Jadeveon Clowney also had a sack apiece for South Carolina.
The Gamecock defense dominated the first half, holding Florida to just
29 yards of offense. However, three turnovers by the offense led to 21
points for the Gators.
On the first play of the game, Florida defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy
stripped Shaw at the Gamecock 5-yard line, and the Gators recovered the
fumble at the 2.
The turnover set up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Driskel to Jordan Reed
that gave Florida a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.
South Carolina shook off the early miscue and went on a 15-play,
61-yard scoring drive. Yates capped the drive with a 35-yard field goal
to trim Florida’s lead to 7-3.
The Gamecock defense then forced four straight three-and-outs, but
after the fourth Ace Sanders fumbled the punt, and the Gators recovered
at the South Carolina 29. Six plays later, Driskel connected with
Quinton Dunbar for a 13-yard scoring strike to give Florida a 14-3 lead
with three minutes left in the second quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Damiere Byrd fumbled on the return, and it was
recovered by Florida’s Chris Johnson at the South Carolina 13 and
returned to the 1-yard line. Driskel then gave the Gators a 21-3 lead
with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Reed with 2:02 left in the half.
South Carolina gained some momentum heading into the locker room, as
Yates drilled a career-long 51-yard field as time expired to cut
Florida’s lead to 21-6. However, the Gamecocks were outscored 23-5 in
the second half.