12:30 PM ET, November 12, 2005
Williams-Brice Stadium, COLUMBIA, SC
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Steve Spurrier had spent nearly a year downplaying his first meeting with Florida and what it might mean to beat his alma mater.
Turns out, it feels pretty good for the Gamecocks' head ball coach.
With Mike Davis and Daccus Turman both running for two touchdowns, South Carolina defeated the 12th-ranked Gators 30-22 on Saturday, the first time Spurrier had played the school where he won a Heisman Trophy in 1966 as a quarterback and a national championship in 1996 as a coach.
It wasn't the kind of blowout Spurrier's Gators perfected during his 12 seasons as their leader from 1990-2001. But it broke Florida's 14-game winning streak in the series -- Spurrier was 10-0 vs. South Carolina -- that had dated to 1939.
"It's more fun when your team is not a dominating team," Spurrier said. "It's neat the way our guys are winning. We are defying logic."
All except the college football adage that Spurrier wins the South Carolina-Florida matchup, no matter what sideline he's on.
"I know he feels great right now," Gamecocks defensive lineman Orus Lambert said.
The loss by Florida (7-3, 5-3 SEC) closed any chance it had of playing for the Southeastern Conference championship.
With their fifth straight SEC victory -- a school first -- it's the Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3) who have an outside shot of reaching the Georgia Dome as SEC East champs.
South Carolina needs East front-runner Georgia to lose its final two games against Auburn and Kentucky.
"The headline in the Florida paper should read, 'Guess who's pulling for Auburn now?"' Spurrier joked.
It's doubtful that many in the crowd of 83,421 at Williams-Brice Stadium figured Spurrier's new team could make such a mark on the SEC this soon.
Florida's last chance ended when, down 30-22, it had forced South Carolina to punt with 1:00 left. But the Gators were called for an illegal participation penalty and the Gamecocks ran out the clock.
"We just want to regroup and go forward," said Gators coach Urban Meyer, hired after Spurrier took himself out of the running for Florida's job last fall.
Davis finished with 88 yards rushing, including touchdown runs of 5 and 1 yard. Turman had scores of 1 and 3 yards.
Fans on both sides of the rivalry had circled this date since Spurrier came back to college after his failed NFL stint with the Washington Redskins. Spurrier said then he wouldn't worry about the Gators until it came time to play them. Then he largely sidestepped most questions about facing the school that, until this season, had been closest to his heart.
"I left to go somewhere else," Spurrier said. "I didn't leave to come here. Three years later, this was the best play for me."
South Carolina players who couldn't beat Spurrier then now couldn't be happier. Offensive lineman Na'Shan Goddard came to the Gamecocks in 2001, Spurrier's final season with Florida. Goddard, a senior, awarded his coach a game ball in the emotional locker room celebration to thank him for South Carolina's turnaround. "I want to get used to this feeling," Goddard said.
Spurrier said it was the players who would make the difference and, showed he had a few playmakers on his side.
South Carolina's defense got things going early, with Dustin Lindsay tipping Chris Leak's pass on the first series for an interception that Chris Tucker returned 48 yards. Davis scored two plays later to make it 7-0.
Receiver Sidney Rice, along with two big errors by Florida cornerback Demetrice Webb, helped extend South Carolina's lead on its next drive. Webb was called for a personal foul on one incompletion for a South Carolina first down, then was flagged for pass interference in the end zone to set up Turman's first TD run from a yard away.
A series later, Turman finished off another drive with his 3-yard touchdown run.
Florida rallied to 20-19 on its first drive of the second half when Leak found Billy Latsko for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Rice, though, spun free from two defenders on a short pass from Blake Mitchell to gain 64 yards to Florida's 1. Davis finished things off on the next play to give the Gamecocks a 27-19 lead.
Meyer chose to have Chris Hetland kick a 43-yard field goal with 2:51 left to make it 30-22. But the onside kick was unsuccessful and the Gators never got the ball again.
"It was so critical to get a score there," Meyer said, "then take the shot at the onsides kick."
Leak finished 18-of-31 for 210 yards and an interception.
"I felt like we prepared well," Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss said. "South Carolina just came out with the win though."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... After a Florida field goal pulled the Gators within 30-22 in the fourth, South Carolina recovered the onside kick.
Gameball goes to... Steve Spurrier. Facing his alma mater, Spurrier ended the Gators' hopes for the SEC East Division title.
Stat of the game... 14: The Gamecocks ended a 14 game losing streak to the Gators win the win.
The Fan Pick
23.8% of College Pick'em players picked South Carolina to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-13||3-10|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||1-1|
|TD||12:26||MIKE DAVIS 5 YD RUN (JOSH BROWN KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 5 yards.
|FG||8:56||CHRIS HETLAND 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||13:31||DACCUS TURMAN 1 YD RUN (JOSH BROWN KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||7:50||DACCUS TURMAN 3 YD RUN (BLOCKED XP)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 47 yards.
|TD||7:50||DEMETRICE (DEE) WEBB MISSED EXTRA POINT RETURN||5||20|
|TD||3:18||CHAD JACKSON 31 YD PASS FROM CHRIS LEAK (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 89 yards.
|TD||7:54||BILLY LATSKO 11 YD PASS FROM CHRIS LEAK (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||5:59||MIKE DAVIS 1 YD RUN (JOSH BROWN KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 78 yards.
|FG||9:04||JOSH BROWN 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 37 yards.
|FG||2:51||CHRIS HETLAND 43 YD FG|
Drive info: 17 plays, 55 yards.