The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina Gamecocks fall to Florida Gators 38-24

The Gamecocks had issues on both sides of the ball in their 38-24 loss to the Florida Gators on Saturday.

Despite an opening drive for the Gamecocks that resulted in a touchdown, the offense couldn't stay on the field in the first half, having several dropped passes and failed third-down conversions.

"We just didn't catch the ball very well," head coach Will Muschamp said at the postgame press conference. "If we'd caught the ball as well as we were running it at the time, we would have been able to do some good things offensively."

Sophomore running back Kevin Harris played a role in helping run the ball, rushing for 100 yards with one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown.

Senior wide receiver Shi Smith and quarterback Collin Hill also helped improve the offense from last week. Hill threw for 212 yards and had two passing touchdowns while Shi Smith had 85 receiving yards and one touchdown.

The South Carolina defense's missed tackles and slow start gave Florida the upper hand offensively in the first half.

"We had some opportunities in the first half; we just didn't cash in, and they did," Muschamp said.

Several players made big plays for the Gamecocks in the second half, including several stops by sophomore defensive back John Dixon and an interception from junior cornerback Israel Mukuamu.

"We've got to make more momentum-changing plays for our football team, gain possession, gain field position, to get our offense back on the field," Muschamp said.

Even with the struggles on both sides of the ball, South Carolina kept itself in the game until the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks had possession of the ball with eight minutes left while trailing Florida by two touchdowns. 

Muschamp said the plan was to score on this last drive to give the Gamecocks the chance to recover an onside kick to tie the game with two timeouts left.

Poor time management and several critical fourth-down conversions left South Carolina at fourth and goal with a little more than a minute left in the game. An incomplete pass to Shi Smith left the Gamecocks scoreless on their last drive of the game.

South Carolina will kick off in Nashville at noon against the Vanderbilt Commodores next Saturday.