Nov. 12, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Steve Spurrier wins the South Carolina-Florida matchup whichever sideline he’s on.
With Mike Davis and Daccus Turman both running for two touchdowns, South Carolina’s new head ball coach beat the 12th-ranked Gators 30-22 on Saturday in his first meeting against the school where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1966 as a quarterback and a national championship in 1996 as a coach.
It wasn’t the kind of blowout Spurrier’s Gators perfected during his 12 seasons there from 1990-2001. But it broke Florida’s 14-game winning streak in the series – a run Spurrier contributed to by going 10-0 vs. South Carolina – that had dated to 1939.
And it closed any chance the Gators (7-3, 5-3) had of playing for the Southeastern Conference championship.
With their fifth straight SEC victory – a school first – it’s the Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3) who have an outside shot of reaching the Georgia Dome as SEC Eastern Division champions.
South Carolina needs East frontrunner Georgia to lose its final two games including next Saturday’s with Kentucky.
But no one in the crowd of 83,421 at Williams-Brice Stadium had likely figured Spurrier’s new team would have any hope making its mark on the SEC this soon.
Florida’s last chance ended when, down 30-22, it had forced South Carolina to punt with 1:00 left. But the Gators were called for an illegal participation penalty and the Gamecocks ran out the clock.
Davis finished with 88 yards rushing, including touchdown runs of 5 and 1 yard. Turman had scores of 1 and 3 yards.
Fans on both sides of the rivalry had circled this date since Spurrier came back to college after his failed NFL stint with the Washington Redskins. Spurrier said then he wouldn’t worry about the Gators until it came time to play them, then brushed aside most questions about facing the school that, until this season, had been closest to his heart.
Spurrier said it was the players who would make the difference and, once again, showed he had those playmakers on his side.
South Carolina’s defnese got things going early, linebacker Dustin Lindsay tipping Chris Leak’s pass on the first series for an interception – Leak’s first pick in 91 passes – and a 48-yard return by defensive lineman Chris Tucker. Davis scored two plays later to make it 7-0.
Receiver Sidney Rice, along with two big errors by Florida cornerback Demetrice Webb, helped extend South Carolina’s lead on its next drive. Webb was called for a personal foul on one incompletion for a South Carolina first down, then was flagged for pass interference in the end zone to set up Turman’s first TD run from a yard away.
A series later, Turman finished off another drive with his 3-yard touchdown run.
Florida rallied to 20-19 on its first drive of the second half when Leak found Chad Jackson for a 31-yard touchdown.
Rice, though, spun free from two defenders on a short pass from Blake Mitchell to gain 64 yards to Florida’s 1. Davis finished things off on the next play to give the Gamecocks a 27-19 lead.
Gators coach Urban Meyer, hired last fall after Spurrier took his name out of the running at Florida, chose to have Chris Hetland kick a 43-yard field goal with 2:51 left to make it 30-22. But the onsides kick was unsuccessful and the Gators never got the ball again.
Leak finished 18-of-31 for 210 yards and an interception.