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Florida Gators 24, South Carolina Gamecocks 14: UF Holds Off Late Carolina Charge

Shawn Elliott's bunch made a game of it late, but it wasn't enough.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators looked like their were cruising to an easy win over South Carolina, but the Gamecocks made a fourth quarter charge before falling 24-14.

Florida's defense controlled the game for most of the way. South Carolina managed just 53 total yards in the first half, and it only held the ball for about ten of the 30 minutes. The Gators rode two methodical drives of 15 plays and 12 plays, respectively, to build a 14-0 lead. Carolina nearly gave UF a third score late in the second quarter when Perry Orth threw an interception to Jalen Tabor less than 20 yards from his own end zone, but Treon Harris returned the favor with a terrible throw into a cloud of Gamecocks that T.J. Gurley picked off.

Neither team did a whole lot offensively in the third quarter outside of a 12-play Florida drive that ended in a 39-yard Austin Hardin field goal. It looked like the Gators might have been on their way to salting the game away entirely early in the fourth quarter when South Carolina stuffed Jordan Scarlett on fourth down at the Carolina 36-yard line. That play swung momentum to the home team.

The ensuing drive was easily South Carolina's best of the game to that point. It started with an 18-yard completion to Jerell Adams, and it ended with a throwback touchdown from Pharoh Cooper to Perry Orth. Orth got a celebration penalty for reasons that were unclear, but it didn't stall things as Carolina forced a three-and-out on the Gators following drive. Orth then lead another scoring drive, beginning with a 25-yard pass play to Matrick Belton and ending with a 38-yard touchdown pass after Cooper beat two guys in the Gator secondary. With about four-and-a-half minutes to go, it was suddenly a 17-14 game.

On the second play of Florida's next drive, Harris hit Demarcus Robinson for an 18-yard gain. Even so, a short run and a screen pass that went incomplete after the Gamecock defense pressured Harris made it look like Carolina was going to get a chance to tie or take the lead. However, on 3rd-and-8 Kelvin Taylor busted loose through the line and ran the ball 53 yards to the South Carolina one yard line. He punched it in from there with two minutes to go to give the game its final score.

Florida doubled up South Carolina in yardage 404 to 201, with most of the Gamecocks' gains coming on those two late scoring drives. UF's Jordan Cronkrite scored both of his team's first half touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. The Gator defense stuffed Brandon Wilds, holding him to 13 yards on nine attempts.

Florida has now finished SEC play 7-1, its best record since putting up the same in 2012. The Gators have a tune up against FAU next week before finishing with rival Florida State. South Carolina has also completed its conference schedule, going 1-7 on the year. It also has a week to work on things against The Citadel before facing its ACC rival Clemson.