The Florida Gator football team (7-3, 5-3) overcame a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter to put themselves in the win column Saturday afternoon against the South Carolina Gamecocks (5-4, 4-4).
In a much higher-scoring game than may have been anticipated, the Gators offense put up 35 points, just enough to outdo the Gamecocks’ 31.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen said his team played with a strong amount of mental toughness and was largely fueled by the energy the fans provided in the Swamp.
“We made plays we needed to make when we needed to make them to win the game,” Mullen said. “We had great mental toughness. You’re down 14-0 in the first half and then you’re down 17 in the second half late in the third quarter and you battle back.”
Scarlett + Perine Take Control
Florida’s offense got off to a slow start, with quarterback Feleipe Franks struggling with the passing game. Franks completed 7 out of 10 pass attempts but threw for just 61 yards by the end of the first half. Florida headed to the locker room down 21-14, with a rather displeased crowd on its hands.
- Scarlett: 159 yards on 18 carries
- Perine: 107 yards on 16 carries, two touchdowns
The Gators earned a season-high 367 rushing yards.
Down 17 ➡️ #GatorsWin!
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) November 10, 2018
Entering Saturday’s game, South Carolina’s defense ranked 75th overall, in comparison to the Gators, who came in at 33.
However, Florida’s defense was seemingly nonexistent in the first quarter. The Gamecocks scored on each of their first two drives, leading the Gators 14-0 into the second quarter and earning 167 offensive yards.
Florida’s defense made the necessary adjustments in the second half, forcing more punts and three-and-out drives. An interception with 3:21 remaining in the fourth quarter by CJ Henderson essentially closed it out for Florida. This was the first turnover the Florida defense had forced in three games.
- After being booed on the Gators first drive of the game, Florida’s QB Franks took it upon himself to “shush” his own fans from the end zone after scoring a two-yard rushing touchdown.
Feleipe Franks tells the crowd to shush again in his touchdown celebration. pic.twitter.com/o9ivlwyfVL
— Megan Plain (@MeganPlain) November 10, 2018
Franks credited his reaction to the fact that he is an emotional player, saying he wants to go out and compete for his team and university more than anyone.
“I’m an emotional player and that’s what makes it a two-way street,” Franks said. “A lot of people are going to like me and a lot of people are not going to like me.”
Florida’s win on Saturday concluded their SEC play for the season. The Gators return to the Swamp next Saturday for their home finale, taking on Idaho at noon.