Franks si­lences crowd, Florida beats South Carolina 35-31

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Mark Long AP Sports Writer

GAINESVILLE, FLA. (AP) >> Feleipe Franks si­lenced the home crowd twice af­ter touch­down runs, seem­ingly send­ing a mes­sage af­ter get­ting benched last week and booed ear­lier in the game, and No. 19 Florida ral­lied to beat South Carolina 3531 Satur­day and end a twogame los­ing streak.

Franks dived across the goal line on a fourth-down play from in­side the 1-yard line with 4:09 to play, putting the Ga­tors (7-3, 5-3 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence, No. 15 CFP) ahead for the first time and for good. Florida over­came a 17-point deficit in the sec­ond half.

C.J. Hen­der­son ended the Game­cocks’ come­back at­tempt by pick­ing off Jake Bent­ley.

But Franks was the player of the game, even if he thrived in a vil­lain role. The sopho­more put his fin­gers to his lips while cel­e­brat­ing with team­mates, the kind of ges­ture usu­ally seen from vis­i­tors.

Franks com­pleted 15 of 21 passes for 161 yards and a touch­down. He also ran for two scores a week af­ter get­ting pulled for the third time in two sea­sons.

Coach Dan Mullen opened up the quar­ter­back com­pe­ti­tion, but backup Kyle Trask broke a foot in prac­tice Wed­nes­day and is out for the sea­son. That left Franks as Mullen’s only vi­able op­tion.

Fans ex­pressed their dis­plea­sure af­ter con­sec­u­tive plays on the first se­ries in which Franks fum­bled and badly over­threw a re­ceiver.

South Carolina (5-4, 4-4) scored touch­downs on its first two pos­ses­sions and looked like it would roll in the Swamp.

But Franks and the Ga­tors woke up and ral­lied, pre­vent­ing for­mer coach Will Muschamp from get­ting a vic­tory in his sec­ond trip back to Florida Field since get­ting fired.

Jor­dan Scar­lett ran for 159 yards. Lam­i­cal Per­ine added 107 yards and two scores on the ground.

Be­tween Scar­lett, Per­ine and Franks, the Ga­tors were able to do what they do best: run the ball and con­trol the clock.

It surely helped they were play­ing against a South Carolina de­fense that’s far from one of Muschamp’s best.

Al­though Muschamp will for­ever be tied to Florida, he won’t have many con­nec­tions to his for­mer school af­ter this game.

The Ga­tors have six fifthyear se­niors who signed with Florida be­fore Muschamp’s fi­nal sea­son in 2014. Florida also has one more pay­ment to Muschamp to ful­fill his sev­er­ance, a $787,500 de­posit later this month. That will com­plete his $6.3 mil­lion buy­out. THE TAKE­AWAY South Carolina: Af­ter be­ing up 17 points late in the third quar­ter, the Game­cocks found them­selves in an­other nail-biter late. It was the team’s fifth con­sec­u­tive game de­cided by four points or less. They are 3-2 in those.

Florida: The Ga­tors still have hopes of mak­ing a big­time bowl game and reach­ing 10 wins for just the sec­ond time in the last six sea­sons. MISS­ING MEN Florida was with­out three key play­ers: guard Brett Heggie, safety Brad Ste­wart and re­ceiver Fred­die Swain. Heggie and Swain were in­jured last week against Mis­souri. Ste­wart has missed two of the last three games.

Coach Dan Mullen sounded un­con­cerned about the in­juries on Mon­day, when he said, “We’ve got a bunch of guys banged up and bat­tered, but on the train­ing re­port there’s noth­ing that should pre­vent any­body (from play­ing).” UP NEXT South Carolina hosts Chat­tanooga of the FCS, a wel­come break af­ter eight con­sec­u­tive con­fer­ence games.

JOHN RAOUX - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

South Carolina run­ning back Rico Dow­dle (5) runs past Florida de­fen­sive back Jea­won Taylor (29) for a 4-yard touch­down in the sec­ond half of an NCAA col­lege foot­ball game, Satur­day, Nov. 10, 2018, in Gainesville, Fla.

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