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South Carolina routs Florida, sending Gators to 3rd straight loss

It’s the first time Florida has lost three in a row under Dan Mullen, who faced fan unrest even before the game.
Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) runs with the ball as South Carolina linebacker Brad Johnson, left, reaches for him during the first half of Saturday's game in Columbia, S.C.
Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) runs with the ball as South Carolina linebacker Brad Johnson, left, reaches for him during the first half of Saturday's game in Columbia, S.C. [ SEAN RAYFORD | AP ]
Published Nov. 7, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jason Brown threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns and South Carolina’s defense shut down Florida’s potent attack to hand the Gators their first three-game losing streak since 2017 in a 40-17 rout Saturday night.

Kevin Harris and ZaQuandre White each ran for over 100 yards, receiver Josh Vann had seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown and kicker Parker White had a career-high four field goals for South Carolina (5-4, 2-4 SEC) in pummeling the Gators (4-5, 3-4)

Brown became the Gamecocks’ third starting passer this season and the FCS transfer made his first Southeastern Conference start an eye-opening one.

Brown, who last played at St. Francis, steadily led South Carolina on five first-half scoring drives for a 30-10 lead at the break.

The Gamecocks’ defense did the rest, holding the normally fiery Florida offense to just 82 yards rushing and becoming the first team this season to outgain the Gators, 459-340.

Brown looked like an SEC veteran as he filled in after grad-assistant coach turned quarterback Zeb Noland continued his recovery from knee surgery last week. It’s probably not Brown’s last start at South Carolina after what he showed in this one.

Brown had a 50-yard pass to Vann to open a series with the Gamecocks up 13-10 and closed it with a 24-yard toss to a wide-open Vann in the end zone to increase the margin.

Brown had consecutive passes to tight ends Traevon Kenion and Nick Muse that went for 18 and 17 yards that led to White’s third first-half field goal for a 23-10 lead.

Moments later, Florida quarterback Emory Jones was tackled from behind by Aaron Sterling for a fumble that bounced backward to the feet of lineman Jabari Ellis who rumbled into the end zone with 1:13 left in the half and the Gamecocks, 20.5 point underdogs, went ahead by 20 points.

Jones completed 17 of 30 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception and the fumble that went for a score.

Harris, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, finished with 128 yards while White had 111.

The takeaway

Florida: A Gamecocks win has meant bad things for Gator coaches in the past. In 2014, Florida parted ways with Will Muschamp after a 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina. Three years later, coach Jim McIElwain had just been dismissed the week before South Carolina’s 28-20 victory. Florida hadn’t lost three straight under Dan Mullen, who already faced fan unrest for losing three of four coming in.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks have a chance at the postseason, needing to win just once in their final three games to send first-year coach Shane Beamer to a bowl. It won’t be easy: They travel to Missouri next week before closing with No. 12 Auburn and Clemson at home.

Up next

Florida plays FCS Samford at home on Saturday.

South Carolina goes to Missouri on Saturday.

By PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer

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