USC Gamecocks Football

Thumbs up, thumbs down: South Carolina vs. Florida

Offensive approach didn’t change during game, USC says

South Carolina loss to Florida 35-31 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Gainesville, FL.
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South Carolina loss to Florida 35-31 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Gainesville, FL.

Thumbs up

The early offense

South Carolina played offense early exactly the way one would’ve wanted. Drive No. 1 was 83 yards in 13 plays, Drive 2 was 84 in six. USC averaged 6.2 yards per play before halftime, 8.1 in the third and 2.3 in the fourth. Jake Bentley hit 14 of his first 18 passes.

Deebo gets going

South Carolina has a game-breaker in Deebo Samuel. His senior season hasn’t featured that many big plays, but he delivered arguably his biggest against the Gators, taking the ball in the shadow of his own goal posts and going 89 yards to set up a touchdown. It was the longest offensive play of his career by 21 yards.

T.J. Brunson

South Carolina’s defense might have struggled, but middle linebacker T.J. Brunson delivered. He had 16 tackles, three for loss, a pair of sacks and a forced fumble.

A.J. Turner

With tailback starter Ty’Son Williams not getting a carry and Rico Dowdle limited, Turner came up with 81 yards on 12 carries.

Thumbs down

The blown lead

Not much more to say. South Carolina led by 17 with 16 minutes to go and found a way to give up three touchdowns and go scoreless the final three times it had the ball.

The tackling

The Gamecocks were shorthanded on defense, but far too many big plays came when Gators ran through tackle after tackle. UF had 13 runs of 10 yards or more.

The late play-calling

Play-calling is often unfairly maligned as being too “this” or too “that” when it doesn’t work. South Carolina’s late calls might be an exception. As the lead was slipping away, USC ran on eight of 11 plays and managed only two first downs. Outside Turner, USC didn’t have a back averaging more than 4 yards a carry going into the final quarter.

The penalties

South Carolina didn’t commit that many (seven for 41 yards), but a few were whoppers. One put a touchdown on the board after a third down stop. Another, a hold, put the final Gamecocks possession in a first-and-20 it couldn’t climb out of.

South Carolina loss to Florida 35-31 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Gainesville, FL.

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