South Carolina’s chance at victory became a more distant and distant hope as the game went on against Florida in The Swamp. The Gators, with their lockdown defense, had the Gamecocks in a three-score hole.
But USC kept coming, put up one score and nearly another in the final minutes. In the general flow of the game, it was more a nice footnote than indicator of a closer contest, but it left Gamecocks offensive tackle Mason Zandi with a good feeling.
“I want to commend all of our guys for not giving up and fighting,” Zandi said. “It’s real easy to get down 20-0 on the road and get frustrated and hang your head. But none of our guys did that. They fought their [tails] off the entire time.”
The Gamecocks admitted they came out flat and took a bit to get going. They stayed within striking distance most of the day, only falling behind by more than 14 after more than 37 minutes of game time.
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It also can’t hurt for a young team to build good habits, as finishing is always a valuable trait.
A season after everything went wrong, progress is measured in modest gains. The long-shot division title goal is gone. USC remains still in good shape to get a bowl trip to send out its older players.
To get that done, it couldn’t hurt to carry on the fight the Gamecocks never let extinguish Saturday.
“I definitely appreciate that coming from a fifth-year senior, seeing freshmen and sophomores, true freshmen, true sophomores out there fighting as hard as they could,” Zandi said. “I really appreciate the guys for that and we’re going to regroup, reload and get ready for Western Carolina.”