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Florida musters late comeback over South Carolina

The Gators overcame a slow start on both sides of the ball to defeat the Will Muschamp-led Gamecocks

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will Muschamp failed to win in the Swamp, again. This time it was in his second trip to Gainesville as South Carolina head coach. The Gamecocks came into the game hot, and scored two touchdowns on their first two drives. Then the offensive progress, as it often does with Muschamp teams, took a nap. Florida tied the game up 14-14 soon after.

Then some spectacular plays from the Gamecock receivers and a muffed punt from Florida’s Kadarius Toney woke up the napping offense. Suddenly, it was 31-14 Gamecocks in the Swamp and the Gamecocks looked to have the game in the bag. Then a funny thing happened . . . . .

THE OFFENSE DIED.

It didn’t just take a nap, it full-on died. Jake Bentley was unable to hit anything down the field, and the Gators locked in on the run game. Their 17-point lead slowly slipped away.

Run the ball. That was the motto of the day for the Florida Gators as they tallied 367 total rushing yards. A trio of running backs in Jordan Scarlett, Lamical Perine, and Dameon Pierce led the way in bruising fashion. But ultimately it was the efforts of embattled quarterback Feleipe Franks that were key. Franks is not the best runner, but he continued to drive forward on QB power plays drive after drive. He ended the day with only 30 yards rushing on 16 carries, but had two rushing touchdowns and several key first downs. Franks showed the home crowd how he felt by shushing them after several touchdowns.

The run game powered the Gators to three straight touchdown drives, slowly and mercilessly sapping the will of the injured Gamecock defense. In the final offensive drive for South Carolina Jake Bentley made the one mistake he couldn’t: he threw a pick. CJ Henderson took the ball out of the air and all but ended the Gamecock’s hopes of victory. And if that wasn’t good enough, Jordan Scarlett iced it with a 28-yard cutback run.

Florida moves to 7-3 and 5-3 in the SEC, while South Carolina falls to 5-4 and 4-4 in the SEC. The Gators host Idaho next weekend, while the Gamecocks host Chattanooga.