South Carolina got no help Saturday afternoon or evening in the SEC East race.
Wins by Georgia and Missouri dimmed but did not extinguish the No. 14 Gamecocks’ chances of playing in the SEC championship game.
The Bulldogs (5-3, 4-2 SEC) looked as if they were going to aid South Carolina’s cause briefly in the second half against Florida but held on for a 23-20 victory by driving 67 yards to run out the final 8:17 of the game.
“It could’ve turned bad, but we got some big stops on defense and the offense finished with that beautiful drive,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.
Georgia plays Appalachian State on Saturday and then returns to SEC play at No. 8 Auburn on Nov. 16 and against Kentucky in Athens, Ga., on Nov. 23. The Bulldogs, who beat South Carolina 41-30 earlier this season, must lose one of those SEC games to give the Gamecocks a chance to win the East.
Later in the day, Missouri improved to 8-1 overall and 4-1 SEC by trouncing Tennessee 31-3. The No. 10 Tigers have three SEC games remaining – at Kentucky on Saturday, at Ole Miss on Nov. 23 and a home finale vs. No. 12 Texas A&M on Nov. 30.
South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 SEC) needs to beat Florida (4-4, 3-3 SEC) on Nov. 16 and have Missouri lose at least one of its final conference games. The Gamecocks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over the Tigers thanks to their 27-24 double-overtime win earlier this season.