The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks rally to keep SEC hopes alive

Steve Spurrier said it best after South Carolina edged out Florida 19-14 Saturday night.

“Somehow or another, it worked out again,” Spurrier said.

The 2013 season has been one full of suspense for the Gamecocks and the game against the Gators was no different.

South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 SEC) took the opening drive of the game all the way down to the Florida two-yard line thanks to a 23-yard run by Mike Davis and a 39-yard hookup between Connor Shaw and Damiere Byrd. However, the Gators defense stiffened and the Gamecocks were forced to settle for Elliot Fry’s short field goal.

Then, on Florida’s first drive, the tackling problems that have plagued South Carolina’s defense throughout the season made an appearance as Kelvin Taylor broke a handful of tackles on his way to a 20-yard touchdown to give the Gators a 7-3 lead.

A career-long 45-yard field goal for Fry cut the lead to one, but Taylor answered again for Florida (4-6, 3-5 SEC).

This time, it was a 29-yard touchdown that put the Gators up 14-6, a lead they would hold at halftime.

“We had trouble scoring around the three yard line two or three times but Elliot Fry kicked some field goals and our defense was really sensational the second half,” Spurrier said.

The offense received a spark early in the second half that once again cut the lead to one. The Gamecocks were facing a fourth and three at the Florida 32-yard line when Shaw rolled out to his right and threw a pass on the run to Bruce Ellington. The Gator defender fell down on the play and Ellington was able to hold on for the touchdown.

“It was kind of a play where it was designed for (Damiere) Byrd to get the ball, but I just saw my defender sitting, so I just ran straight passed him,” Ellington said.

It took nearly 19 minutes of gameplay, but South Carolina eventually took the lead for good. On a third and goal from the three, Shaw appeared to find receiver Shaq Roland for the touchdown. However, after review the referees ruled that Roland was bobbling the ball as he went out of bounds.

As the student section was in the process of throwing their white towels and other objects on the field in disgust of the call, Fry knocked through the 22-yarder that proved to be the game-winner with just under seven minutes to go in the game.

“That was awfully close,” Spurrier said. “I think everyone saw that he had possession with a foot down but the referees I guess didn’t think he had. But as it turned out, it didn’t matter.”

That game-winning drive received a lift due to a 58-yard run by Shon Carson on a draw play. South Carolina was facing a first and 15 from its own five when Carson gave the Gamecocks the much needed breathing room.

Carson finished with 102 yards on 13 carries to notch his first career 100-yard game.
Fry’s four field goals and Carson’s breakout performance were able to cover up erratic play by Shaw on the day. The senior overthrew several of his receivers during the game. However, he was able to avoid the turnovers and finished 14-28 for 213 yards. His touchdown to Ellington was the 24th of his career and placed him in a tie with Todd Ellis for the most in school history.

“I missed a few touchdown opportunities,” Shaw said. “Some things you just have to let go and move on from and learn from it and try not to make that same mistake again. I think we’re very fortunate to come out with the victory.”

Shaw’s sentiment was shared by Spurrier, who said he told his team all week to expect a tough game with the Gators despite their 4-5 record coming into the weekend. While mistakes were made, the Gamecocks received just enough breaks to pull out the win.

“I think it was just meant to be for us to win this one today,” Spurrier said.


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