Nov. 16, 2013
MORE POST-GAME COVERAGE
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind four field goals from freshman Elliott Fry and a stifling second-half defense, No. 11/12 South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 SEC) downed Florida (4-6, 3-5 SEC) 19-14 in front of 83,853 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday night.
Fry hit field goals of 25, 45, 22 and 43 yards in the win, becoming the first Gamecock to have a four field-goal game since Spencer Lanning hit five in 2009 at Georgia. Sophomore running back Shon Carson led the offense, rushing for 102 yards on 13 carries, his first career game to pass the century mark in yards. Senior quarterback Connor Shaw tossed the lone Gamecock touchdown and threw for 213 yards in a 14-for-28 outing.
The Gamecocks started on the comeback trail on their first possession of the second half, driving 64 yards in seven plays. Shaw, rolling out to his right, hit junior wide receiver Bruce Ellington with the pass at the goal line from 32 yards away, and Fry’s PAT drew South Carolina to within one, 14-13. Carson had 17 yards on three carries in the drive, including a 13-yard dash.
In the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks got a boost from Carson’s career-best 58-yard run, getting South Carolina from its own five into Gator territory. A circus catch by junior tight end Rory Anderson went for 34 yards to the Florida 2, but the Gamecocks could not punch it in from there. Instead, Fry came on for a 22-yard field goal, giving South Carolina its second lead of the evening with 6:43 remaining.
On Florida’s next possession, the Gators, with the ball on their own 35, could not get a first down and were hurt by a third-down holding call that moved them back to the 32. Gamecock senior Jimmy Legree broke up the second third-down try by the Gators. On fourth, the Gators went for it, but a trio of Gamecocks rushed back to cover the Gators’ Leon Orr and keep the pass from being completed, giving the ball back to South Carolina. Four plays later, Fry hit his fourth field goal of the night, a 43-yarder, to put the Gamecocks up five, 19-14.
Florida got the ball back with 2:16 remaining and made two first downs, but on the next play, Gator quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg floated a pass that Legree picked off, stopping the Gators’ drive. The Gamecock defense held Florida to 130 offensive yards in the second half.
The Gamecocks trailed 14-6 at half despite being nearly even with Florida in total yards (UF 177-165). The Gators had two touchdown drives both capped by runs from Kelvin Taylor on direct snaps. The first, a 20-yard run, capped an 11-play drive that took 7:18 off the clock in the first quarter, while his second came from 29 yards out early in the second quarter.
South Carolina’s first-half points all came from Fry’s leg. The freshman hit a 25-yard field goal on the first South Carolina possession before putting through a career-long 45-yard effort on the team’s second drive. He missed a 38-yarder that would have drawn the Gamecocks to within five with 1:31 remaining.
The victory pushed the Gamecocks’ home winning streak to 16 games, breaking the school record set from 1978-80. The win marked the 39th for the Gamecock seniors, setting a new program record posted by last year’s group, while Shaw ties the school mark for wins by a starting quarterback, matching Todd Ellis’ 24 in his career.
South Carolina, with the triumph tonight and Auburn’s win over Georgia, holds second solely in the SEC East and needs a Missouri loss over the last two weeks to gain a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. The deadline for Gamecock Club fans to request tickets to the SEC Championship Game is Sun., Nov. 17.
The Gamecocks host the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Sat., Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. EST. Tickets still remain for the game, which will be shown on pay-per-view on cable and satellite providers.