Gators Continue Struggles

They had their chances late in the game. This one seemed like it might be different as the Gators worked into the fourth quarter. In the end, it was Florida's fifth loss against their fifth ranked opponent and it all seems the same. Will Muschamp's Gators have hurt themselves desperately with turnovers this season and one near the end of the first half seemed to be the difference in the game.

Florida lost 17-12 against the 15th ranked Gamecocks in a game that was a lot like the others for this version of the Florida Gator football team.

Florida actually scored first in the game and got out to a 3-0 lead with a 21 yard punch through the uprights by their capable and dependable junior kicker Caleb Sturgis. It was the only score for either team in the first period of play.

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw was under constant heat to start the game, so the wily Ole Ball Coach Steve Spurrier went to a plan to run the ball instead of pass. He used the nimble feet of his quarterback and running back Brandon Wilds to do the damage.

Wilds finished with 120 yards on 29 carries while Shaw carried the ball 16 times for 88 yards.

The rushing game was key in the second quarter as the Gamecocks rolled up 14 straight points on two touchdowns. The second of which came after a key fumble by senior running back Jeff Demps and gave South Carolina the ball at the Florida 46 yard line with 4:53 left to play in the half. The drive consumed 4:26 of the remaining time and was the difference in the game.

The Gator defense stiffened after the half time break and held the Gamecock offense to just 23 yards in the next three series that lasted until the 11:23 mark of the fourth quarter.

In the meantime, Florida turned to Chris Rainey, the senior running back who missed the last game due to injury started making sizable dents in the gamecock defense. After having only 85 total yards in the fi4st half, Florida rattled off drives of 58, 45, and 49 yards and tallied a field goal and a touchdown in the process.

Rainey was the big part of this success and led all rushers in the game with 132 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards on the day. He was finally run down on a 47 yard run at the two yard line and Florida put it in the end zone two plays later when freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett scrambled into the end zone for the Gators only touchdown of the day.

After failing on a two point conversion that would have tied the game at 14-14, the Gamecocks rallied for the final score of the game using a long pass play to Ace Sanders of 46 yards. The Gamecocks had only two pass plays over 10 yards the entire game.

Gator senior quarterback John Brantley finished with 120 yards passing while completing 13 of 20 passes. Brantley was harassed all day and was sacked three times by the South Carolina front line that was averaging nearly two sacks a game coming in.

Brantley's main target was sophomore tight end Jordan Reed who had his best day of his career with five receptions for 60 yards. Freshman tight end A.C. Leonard also had his best day as a pass receiver, catching two passes for 11 yards.

Florida continues to have issues getting the ball to its wide receivers and Deonte Thompson was the only receiver to make a catch totaling three for 16 yards.

Sturgis continues on his roll and went 2-2 with kicks from 21 and 24 yards. He is now 19-21 on the season. He has 43 successful field goals in his career and is now tied for second all-time at Florida with Jeff Chandler.

The Florida defense was steamrolled in the second quarter, but played well after halftime. The defense was able to hold the Gamecocks to 3-14 on third down conversions.

Freshman safety Pop Saunders had his first career interception. Safety Josh Evans had a career high 11 tackles (second on the team) and seemed to be everywhere on the day. Safety Matt Elam continues his stellar play and had eight tackles on the day. Junior linebacker Jon Bostic led all gator tacklers with 12.

The Gators are now 5-5 on the season and have lost five of the last six games they have played. They finish 3-5 in the SEC as they prepare to play FCS sub-division Furman next week at home.

Fightin Gators Top Stories