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
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
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
"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."
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