Game­cocks over­come er­rors to beat Florida

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL SPORTS - By Jef­frey Collins

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In a sea­son of one dom­i­nant team and a bunch of dis­ap­point­ments in the SEC East, re­silient South Carolina fig­ured out an­other way to win, over­com­ing four turnovers to beat Florida 28- 20 on Satur­day and reach heights the Game­cocks have rarely achieved.

South Carolina (7-3, 5-3 South­east­ern) can’t win what would have been only been its sec­ond SEC East ti­tle.

But the Game­cocks will fin­ish with only its eighth win­ning SEC record in 26 sea­sons in the league.

Sec­ond year coach Will Muschamp has his Game­cocks em­brac­ing what he calls a “So What? Now what?” phi­los­o­phy, and his quar­ter­back Jake Bent­ley per­son­i­fied it, shak­ing off three in­ter­cep­tions to throw for 249 yards and run for two touch­downs.

“At the end of the day, we won,” the sopho­more said. “It’s bet­ter to learn from some­thing with a W.”

A Florida team in dis­ar­ray with a fired coach and no wins since Septem­ber couldn’t take ad­van­tage of the help. The Ga­tors (3-6, 3-5) will fin­ish with a los­ing SEC record for only the third time since 1992.

I nterim coach Randy Shan­non said he was proud his team kept fight­ing af­ter a 35- point loss against Ge­or­gia led to the fir­ing of Jim McEl­wain two weeks ago, and Shan­non’s de­but was a 29-point loss to Mis­souri. But he un­der­stands it still isn’t enough as Florida will miss a bowl game for only the third time in 31 sea­sons.

“Is this up to the ex­pec­ta­tions of this pro­gram? No. We wanted to win. There are no moral vic­to­ries,” Shan­non said.

A.J. Turner ran 22 times for 136 yards and Mon Den­son rushed for the first two touch­downs of his ca­reer as South Carolina had its best of­fen­sive game of the sea­son with 469 yards. In a com­mon theme this sea­son, the Game­cocks de­fense also came through. The Ga­tors con­verted as many fourth downs ( 2 for 2) as third downs (2 for 15). And the de­fense ended Florida’s last chance when de­fen­sive back Jamyest Wil­liams picked off a tipped pass near mid­field with just over a minute to go.

“Two years ago, we’re a 3-9 foot­ball team. The in­vest­ment you’ve made to get to this point, I’m damn proud of you,” Muschamp told his team in the locker room af­ter the win.

South Carolina’s A.J. Turner (25) runs away from Florida’s Vosean Joseph dur­ing Satur­day’s game.

Sean Ray­ford /

AP

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