Spurrier: "We're just not overall a strong team"

Source: TheBigSpur
Source: TheBigSpur

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina was unable to overcome three costly first-half turnovers as it fell to Florida, 44-11, on Saturday.

If you're into numerology the number three wasn't a lucky number for South Carolina, especially coming off a brutal three-week stretch of SEC games.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier headed back to his former stomping grounds at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, or "The Swamp" as the Head Ball Coach coined it during his years as coach of the Gators.

"We knew it'd be a tough game down here," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said. "We hoped our guys would give it their best shot and not just lay the ball on the ground and say, 'Here, Florida, we don't want to win. Yall take this fumble, this fumble, and this fumble,' and away they went."

The first sixty seconds set the pace of the game, as Florida put numbers on the board early after a fumble by Connor Shaw on the first offensive play.

"They brought a corner blitz and I never saw it," Shaw said. "The guy just made a play and swiped it out of my hands."

The turnover set up a 3-yard touchdown pass for Florida giving them a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

The Gamecocks shook off the early miscue and went on a 15-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Yates capped the drive with a 35-yard field goal to trim Florida's lead to 7-3.

The Gamecock defense dominated the first half, holding Florida to just 29 yards of offense. However, three turnovers by the offense led to 21 points for the Gators.

South Carolina gained some momentum heading into the locker room, as Yates drilled a career-long 51-yard field as time expired to cut Florida's lead to 21-6.

However, the Gamecocks were outscored 23-5 in the second half making this their second straight loss of the season.

"We're embarrassed right now," Spurrier said. "We had some performances that didn't give us a chance and you can't do that. Can't have guys that somehow or another -- I don't have all the answers right now."

South Carolina failed to find the end zone for the first time since losing to Alabama 20-6 on October 17, 2009.

"That shouldn't happen," Spurrier said. "Florida kids don't fumble; they cover kickoffs. That's why we don't deserve to be in the top 15. I don't know what we deserve to be right now. We're just not overall a strong team."

The Gamecock play at home next Saturday against Tennessee. Kickoff has been set for 12 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press and The Big Spur contributed to this report