The Gators roared out to a lead in the first half on the heels of Kelvin Taylor's two touchdown runs. The offensively challenged Gators wouldn't score in the second half, though. Carolina chipped away at Florida's 14-6 half time lead and took the lead late in the final period. The defense held and Carolina prevailed against Florida for the third time in the past four years.
The two stories of this game were our success in adjusting to Florida's offense in the second half, and Connor Shaw's uneven play. With their third-team QB getting the start, Florida had no interest in trying to move the ball vertically through the air and ran a lot of plays out of the wildcat. We struggled against their approach early in the game, but in the second half, Lorenzo Ward schemed against the run more aggressively, and we were largely able to shut down the Florida offense.
Even with Florida moving the ball early on, the Gamecocks had their chances to race out to a lead, but Shaw continuously failed to deliver the ball to open receivers. Shaw seemed to be seeing the field better than he did against Mississippi St., but he consistently overthrew receivers down field. He did enough to help us get the win, though. He got some help from his receivers, particularly on a spectacular fourth-quarter catch by TE Rory Anderson.
Shaw didn't get any help from the refs, though. The Gamecocks were absolutely screwed on what should have been a Shaq Roland TD reception in the fourth quarter; the Gamecocks would have to settle for the go-ahead field goal. The replay showed that Roland clearly caught the ball, and to make matters worse, the refs didn't call obvious pass interference by Florida on the play. I should have known I'd have to write something like this, considering that Florida so frequently benefits from calls like these, but I really wish the SEC would do something about this stuff. It's unfair to the teams and an embarrassment to the conference. At least we got a couple of holding calls on the night.
What made the win even sweeter was that Auburn defeated UGA in miraculous fashion earlier in the day. With UGA now eliminated from the divisional race, we now get to hope for Missouri to lose to either Ole Miss or Texas A&M. There's a decent chance of Mizzou losing one of those games, so you have to like our chances to make it back to Atlanta now.