1. South Carolina’s 28-20 win against Florida secured second place in the SEC East and the team’s best record since 2013. The Gamecocks finished with five or more conference wins for the eighth time in program history. USC went ahead early and maintained the lead, keeping the Gators just at arm’s length.
2. Quarterback Jake Bentley had perhaps his most uneven career performance. He threw three interceptions, each one ugly, one that almost became a pick-six. He did throw for 249 yards, one of his better outputs of the season, while completing more than 65 percent of his passes.
3. South Carolina posted its best rushing day of the season with 220 yards, headlined by A.J. Turner’s 136 yards. It marks the second 200-yard performance of the season, with the first coming two weeks ago against Vanderbilt.
4. True freshmen who played were: wide receiver OrTre Smith, wide receiver Shi Smith, corner Jamyest Williams, Buck lineman Brad Johnson, defensive end Aaron Sterling, linebacker Damani Staley, linebacker Sherrod Greene.
5. Tight end Kiel Pollard got some work with the offense late as the Gamecocks went with two tight ends most of the game. Former walk-on Javon Charleston saw a few snaps at safety when Jamyest Williams was shaken up after a play.
6. Pollard and Charleston both needed to play because of injuries to wide receiver Shi Smith and safety D.J. Smith. Shi Smith got poked in the eye and couldn’t come back, robbing USC of its best slot option. D.J. Smith missed the game with a hip injury suffered against Georgia.
7. The Gamecocks were part of one of the weirder sequences you’ll see. Jake Bentley threw an interception that appeared to be coming back for a score, but Hayden Hurst hustled back to force a fumble, which produced a decent return by AJ Turner. The ensuing drive fizzled out, but the Gamecocks got the ball back on a muffed punt, and Bentley then returned it a play later with an interception.
8. To ward off the cold, members of the South Carolina defense got to dancing between possessions, taking advantage when the DJ played something good.
9. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw made one impressive play where he chased a screen down on the perimeter. The 300-pounder, down 40 pounds from the start of the year, said he was just hoping the corner could hold the receiver up enough to let him get there and deliver the hit.
10. Jamyest Williams sealed the game in the final minutes with his second career interception.
11. Most fans want teams to be more aggressive, and USC eschewed the conservative approach late. With under 4 minutes left, USC faced third and 5 from its own 35. Instead of running to force the Gators to use their final timeout, the Gamecocks threw to their best receiver covered by Florida’s top corner. The pass was broken up and the Gators got their last chance.
12. The announced attendance was more than 79,727. Will Muschamp came away pleased with the atmosphere, especially considering the noon kick and temperatures hovering around 50 degrees.
13. The injuries to the two Smiths were just part of a parade of injuries that have limited some to South Carolina’s best stars. That and the four turnovers were problems, but USC players said they held true to the “So what? Now what?” mantra they use.
14 Game captains were Hayden Hurst, Skai Moore, Chris Lammons and D.J. Wonnum.
15. Tailback Mon Denson scored the first two touchdowns of his career. He ran for a career-best 61 yards.
16. With four sacks Saturday, USC surpassed 2016’s 13-game total of 21 with two games to go.
17. Defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth had five quarterback hurries and a pass break-up. Freshman defensive end Aaron Sterling registered his first career sack.
18. South Carolina allowed only 78 rushing yards, the fewest allowed under Muschamp and the lowest since UCF’s 26 on Sept. 26, 2015.
19. Florida finished just 2-of-15 on third-down conversions. The Gamecocks had been allowing opponents to convert more than 45 percent.
20. The season’s seventh with marks a measure of progress in Muschamp’s words, with the division finish and bests since 2013. That and the chance for at least eight wins with FCS Wofford coming up aren’t the most flashy marks, but the coach said they’re important two years after a 3-9 bottoming out.