GAINESVILLE, Fla. — South Carolina (5-5, 3-5 SEC) tried to mount a fourth-quarter comeback, but Florida (7-2, 5-2 SEC) held on for a 20-7 victory on Saturday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Florida posted touchdowns in the first and second quarter on similar drives. Austin Appleby posted passes to cap each drive, a six-yarder to C’yontai Lewis in the first and an 18-yarder to Ahmad Fulwood in the second. Big runs set up both. Appleby scampered for 33 yards to the Gamecock 6 to set up the first score, while Jordan Scarlett started the second scoring drive with a 32-yard rush.
The Gamecock defense recovered two fumbles in the first half, shutting down Gator drives. Junior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williamsforced the first-quarter fumble at the South Carolina 20, and junior cornerback Jamarcus King covered it to give the Gamecocks back the ball. In the second quarter, Allen-Williams picked up the fumbled snap at the Gamecock 14, stopping a Gator drive deep into SC’s territory.
Florida had one last shot before the end of the half after a holding penalty brought back Florida’s punt return to the Gamecock 47. Senior linebacker T.J. Holloman picked off the Appleby pass, halting the Gators’ momentum and keeping Florida’s lead at 14-0 at halftime.
Eddy Pineiro hit two field goals in the third quarter, a career-best-tying 54-yarder halfway through followed by a 36-yarder with 52 seconds left in the period, making Florida’s lead 20-0.
The Gamecocks scored with just under seven minutes to play, as junior running back David Williams punched in a one-yard run, getting South Carolina within two scores, 20-7. Junior running back Rod Talley made two catches and three runs on the 11-play drive, 80-yard drive, posting two first downs, including a 19-yard catch on fourth-and-6 to set up the touchdown.
South Carolina stopped Florida with 2:58 remaining and started driving, taking the ball to the Gators’ 11 before turning it over on downs after two incomplete passes. That sealed the Gators’ victory.