COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It wasn't the prettiest of games, but South Carolina will take it.
Despite three first-quarter turnovers, the Gamecocks defeated Florida 28-20 to pick up their seventh win this year.
"Well, we made it probably made it more interesting than it needed to be," said Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp. "Coach Tanner has been complaining about concessions so I figured we'd keep some people around until the end of the game. Really proud of our football team. The last two weeks, the Vanderbilt game and Georgia game, were two very physical games. We had a bunch of guys that took very sparingly reps throughout the week... We're like everybody else in the country. We're really beat up, especially on the defensive side of the ball."
South Carolina struck first in Saturday's contest and only needed about three minutes to do so. The 7-play, 74-yard drive was capped with Jake Bentley's third rushing touchdown this season. The 4-yard run made it 7-0 with 11:30 to go in the first quarter.
Later in the period, the running game continued to pay dividends for the Gamecocks. Mon Denson scored his first career touchdown for USC on a 24-yard carry pushing the lead to 14-0 with 2:08 on the clock.
However, the first quarter wasn't one of the best for Carolina. The Gamecocks turned the ball over three times, including two of Jake Bentley's three interceptions, giving Florida opportunities to stay in the game. Fortunately for USC, the Gators weren't able to capitalize on any of the miscues.
"Miscommunication on the first one," Bentley explained. "(It was) Clearly my fault on that one. The second one, just didn't see the guy. Hayden was open. I just didn't see the rotation. The safety made a good play of recognizing what we were doing and just running across the field."
After two second-quarter field goals by Eddy Piniero, Denson tacked on another touchdown for Carolina. This time, the redshirt sophomore rushed in for 12 yards out to make it 21-6 with 3:40 left in the half.
South Carolina rushed for 120 yards on 20 carries in the first half. In total, the Gamecocks put up 263 yards after two periods of play.
The Gators weren't going away easily. With 1:18 left in the half, Lamical Perine's 18-yard run finished off a 75-yard drive that took more than two minutes off the clock to make it a 21-13 game just before halftime.
Jake Bentley added his second rushing touchdown of the day in the third quarter. The sophomore's 7-yard run extended the lead for Will Muschamp's squad 28-13 with 2:08 left in the third.
Florida would make it a game in the fourth. Thanks to a 63-yard pass to Mortal Stephens. On the next play, Mark Thompson powered his way into the end zone just before fumbling. However, the officials ruled that Thompson broke the plain and the Gators would cut it to 28-20.
Florida needed one more scoring drive to stay in it with less than two minutes to go, but a tipped pass from Feleipe Franks would end up in the hands of Jamyest Williams and the Gamecocks would come away with the win.
Next week, South Carolina takes on a Wofford team that looks to chalk up another upset for the FCS teams.
"We can't sleep on them," said Gamecocks defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw. "It's a regular game, you know. Whoever it is, (we're not) gonna take them light. We're going to come out and play because they're going to come out and want to beat us so (we're not) gonna sleep on them."