Florida remains ahead in the SEC East race with win over South Carolina – Sports Illustrated
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Despite a slew of injuries, Florida did not suffer a case of Muschamp’s Revenge on Saturday. Here are three thoughts from a 20–7 Gators win against former Florida coach Will Muschamp’s South Carolina team.
1. Florida’s injuries piled up, but the Gators still shut down the Gamecocks.
Florida came into the game without starting quarterback Luke Del Rio (shoulder), center Cam Dillard (knee), defensive end CeCe Jefferson (foot) and linebackers Jarrad Davis (ankle) and Alex Anzalone (arm). By the end of the first quarter, the Gators also had lost backup center Tyler Jordan (lower leg), star safety Marcus Maye (shoulder) and starting left tackle David Sharpe (lower leg).
While that list looks ominous with a trip to LSU on the horizon, it didn’t stop Florida from dominating the Gamecocks on Saturday. Redshirt freshman T.J. McCoy filled in admirably at center, and backup quarterback Austin Appleby showed off his arm and his legs as the Gators showed far more life offensively than they did in a 31–10 loss at Arkansas. Appleby put Florida in position to score its first touchdown with a 33-yard gain on a first-quarter read-option play. He wound up completing 17 of 21 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. A week after they gained only 12 rushing yards, the Gators gained 171 on the ground. Meanwhile, Florida’s defense harassed South Carolina freshman Jake Bentley for much of the day. Through the first three quarters, Bentley completed 8 of 18 passes for 83 yards and was sacked five times.
Florida could have beaten South Carolina by even more, but a Mark Thompson fumble in South Carolina territory, an Appleby fumble in the red zone and an Antonio Callaway punt return touchdown called back for holding cost the Gators points.
2. Florida can win the SEC