The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecocks earn resounding victory over Florida in quest for bowl eligibility

<p>South Carolina players celebrate following a touchdown. The Gamecocks beat Florida 40-17.&nbsp;</p>

South Carolina players celebrate following a touchdown. The Gamecocks beat Florida 40-17. 

South Carolina scored its second-most points in a game this season in a 40-17 victory over Florida at home. The Gamecocks, now 5-4 (2-4 SEC), executed at a high level throughout the game coming off of an extra week of practice after the bye week.

South Carolina was projected to lose by double digits.

“Wow. What a great night to be a Gamecock,” head coach Shane Beamer said after his team’s statement victory.

Redshirt senior quarterback Jason Brown said bye week practices helped the Gamecocks. The team only committed one penalty and is confident it will continue to trend in the right direction, Brown said. 

“These past two weeks were some of our best practices that we’ve had, and I think if we can build off that we’re going to have a really good last three games this year,” said Brown.

In the opening frame, Florida answered a South Carolina field goal with a touchdown drive. South Carolina's next drive ended in a touchdown run from freshman running back Juju Mcdowell to reclaim the lead. 

The Gamecocks outscored Florida 20 to three in a decisive second quarter with contributions from redshirt senior kicker Parker White, who nailed the second and third of his four field goals in the quarter, and redshirt senior quarterback Jason Brown, who threw his first touchdown pass of the night halfway through the second.

Redshirt senior quarterback Jason Brown exits the field post-game. The Gamecocks beat Florida 40-17. 

“It’s a great testament to what he’s about and it’s a great example for all the kids in our program,” said Beamer, praising Brown. “That he had every right to complain and be upset about him not playing early in the season but all he did was come to work and prepared every week to be the starting quarterback.”

Brown finished his first start for South Carolina going 14 for 24 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He credited his teammates and patience for allowing him to seize the opportunity.

“I mean I was the third team guy for a while. I just kept preparing as I was a starter and to be able to come in and lead us to a victory tonight is something special and I’m going to cherish this moment forever,” Brown said. 

South Carolina’s defense was stout throughout the contest. It held its opponent to just three conversions on 10 third-down attempts and allowed less than 100 rushing yards in the game. The defensive highlight of the night belonged to redshirt senior defensive lineman Jabari Ellis, as he secured a fumble and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining before halftime.

“I thought we tackled well and created a huge turnover before the half. So those guys flew around and played really, really hard and had a lot of fun doing it,” Beamer said post-game.

Beamer credited his team for their efforts throughout the bye week and game week preparations leading up to the victory.

Senior wide receiver Josh Vann, who finished with seven catches for 111 yards and a score, said it is a confidence boost to have a quarterback willing to keep his eyes downfield and give his guys a chance and emphasized the importance of the game for his team.

“We made a statement, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we’re going to come out there and fight, that’s what a Gamecock does, Gamecocks fight,” Vann said.

South Carolina will travel to Columbia, Missouri, for its first of three-straight against teams whose mascots are Tigers. The Gamecocks will face Auburn and Clemson at home after playing Missouri. South Carolina needs to win at least one more game to be eligible for a bowl game. 


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