The South Carolina Gamecocks were bullied and outclassed by the Florida Gators in a deflating, dispiriting wire-to-wire 38-6 loss in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, failing to get any traction on the line of scrimmage and producing just a couple special teams highlights on an otherwise miserable day.
The game got off to a bad start virtually immediately for the Gamecocks, as the Gators powered down the field on the strength of their rushing attack and cashed in with a 3-yard Anthony Richardson touchdown run in a 14-play, 75-yard statement drive that took about 5 and a half minutes off the clock. South Carolina went three-and-out in a hurry on its ensuing possession and Florida proceeded to score again, this time with Richardson showing off his arm as the pocket collapsed with a 15-yard strike to Ricky Pearsall, making it 14-0 Gators in seemingly the blink of an eye.
It only got worse from there, as the Gamecocks punted once again and then let Trevor Etienne get loose for an 85-yard touchdown run. After another failure to respond by the USC offense, South Carolina finally got something of a win when it held Florida to a 28-yard field goal, making it 24-0. The Gamecocks finally got on the board after that as well, when punter Kai Kroeger fired a fake punt to Dakereon Joyner, who rumbled in for the touchdown from 48 yards out to provide one of the few South Carolina highlights of the day as the first half wound to a close.
To further prove this was a Murphy’s Law game for USC, Antwane Wells Jr. coughed up the football on the Gamecocks’ first possession out of the locker room. Fortunately, in another spurt of good play from USC’s special teams, South Carolina blocked the ensuing Florida field goal attempt from 36 yards out. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks reprised their previous possession, when Jaheim Bell lost a fumble — and this time, the Gators did cash in, hitting paydirt when Richardson tossed a 4-yard touchdown to Jonathan Odom to make it 31-6 (and, to add insult to injury, the Gamecocks were flagged for a personal foul).
Not to be content with a mere two fumbles, South Carolina lost the ball yet again when Jalen Brooks couldn’t hang on after a 17-yard reception. The good news: The Gamecock defense forced a turnover on downs on the Gators’ next drive. The bad news: South Carolina once again had to punt. Silver lining, though: USC finally forced a Florida punt as the third quarter came to an end.
Mercifully for the Gamecocks, the fourth quarter was largely uneventful — until Montrell Johnson Jr. poured it on with an 8-yard touchdown rush as the Gators continued to find unquestioned success on the ground. South Carolina did manage its first fumble recovery of the game on Florida’s next possession, but couldn’t find a way to score more points and fell 38-6.
The Gamecocks (6-3, 3-3 SEC) return to Columbia to host No. 5 Tennessee.