South Carolina beats Florida by five points. 

And we're left disappointed. 

It was another tough game for the Gamecocks as the offense struggled and South Carolina had to come from behind to win but it still ended up as an "ugly" win for the Gamecocks. 

But you know what?

Who cares.

It was a win over Florida and it helped South Carolina stay in the hunt for the SEC East, which was aided due to a miraculous play from the Auburn Tigers, and finish with another 6-2 season in SEC play. 

It's great that our expectations have reached this status where we're angry over a win over the Florida Gators but this program has risen to new levels and this Saturday's win was just another sign that the Gamecocks are aiming higher and higher each week out. 

It wasn't perfect but the Gamecocks got some key performances in the right moments and came away victorious. I'll take that every Saturday. 

Now, let's get to this week's Second Thoughts on the South Carolina/Florida game. 

-- South Carolina's defense made some excellent adjustments in the second half to slow down a strong Florida running game. The Gators had to use Skyler Mornhinweg at quarterback and only trusted the redshirt freshman to throw the ball two times in the first half. Florida picked up 169 yards on the ground in the first half thanks to a multitude of looks on offense with Wildcat Trey Burton and Kelvin Taylor. The Gamecocks had a hard time figuring out the running game and it helped give Florida a 14-6 lead at halftime. 

The adjustments in the second half basically shut down the Gators. South Carolina's defense came to life and forced a few three and outs while neutralizing the Gators on the ground. They were held to just 31 yards after halftime, which was key to mount a South Carolina comeback on offense. Limiting the Gators on the ground played a major role in the South Carolina victory and credit goes to Lorenzo Ward and the defense for stepping up big in the second half. 

-- The struggles on offense need to be figured out fast. South Carolina nearly gave away a game to a Florida team that they were favored to beat by double digits because of offensive struggles in the first half. The injury to Connor Shaw's knee seems to be limiting him on offense and his running ability. This limits his game as he seems to be at his best improvising on the run. Taking away that part of his game has really kept this offense in check the last few weeks and it's clear South Carolina needs a healthy Connor Shaw to have its most efficient offense. 

Another interesting part was to see Mike Davis only pick up eight carries in the first half. He seemed to be picking up decent yardage on the ground but it would have been nice to see him more involved, especially in the passing game. He's really added a lot of value to this offense but the Gamecocks need to use him in the right spots when they're struggling to move the football.

-- One positive on offense was the emergence of Shon Carson. This player has been through a lot during his time at Carolina but he really had a night against the Gators on Saturday. He picked up 102 yards on 13 attempts, including a huge 58-yard gain that helped South Carolina get out of their own territory late in the game. 

Carson was talked up some this preseason as a player to watch but he struggled early. However, an injury to Brandon Wilds gave Carson an opportunity to play more and he's gotten better each week. He was at his best against the Gators. Seeing him carry the ball like that shows that South Carolina has three options in Carson, Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds that can perform at a high level. 

-- I love Elliott Fry. This skinny, little kicker just keeps doing what he does best on the football field. Fry added four field goals on five attempts and has gotten better every game. It looks like to me that his strength has increased as the season has moved along as he just seems to nail the 40-45 yard field goals with much more ease than he did earlier in the year. 

We all know Spurrier hates field goals. He's a guy that feels he can score on each possession but with Fry kicking like he has, it's got to give Spurrier some confidence knowing he's got a reliable talent in the true freshman. 

And he's a walk-on. Look for Fry to get a scholarship sooner than later. 

-- This catch from Busta Anderson was something else. Just watch:

Good things happen when you get this big tight end involved. South Carolina has done a better job of this later but will need Anderson and Jerell Adams to continue their strong play of late. Anderson used to be known as the guy who catches nothing but touchdowns, but I'll gladly take some big, highlight reel catches like this the rest of the season. 

-- Shaq Roland nearly came down with a heck of a touchdown catch against Florida. The refs called it incomplete at the time but after watching this replay, it certainly looked like a catch. 

And another thing, what about the defender basically rip off Roland's jersey? Yet no flag was thrown. I'm all for letting guys compete but when it's pretty blatant like this was, well it's clear that there should have been a flag thrown on the play. 

It didn't hurt the Gamecocks but when touchdowns were needed, this would have been a huge boost at this stage of the game. 


It was a tough game to watch but I'm sure the players felt it was even tougher. Florida is still a talented team with a lot of pieces. Had they been fully healthy, who knows what could have happen. South Carolina fortunately came away with a victory and finished the SEC season on a high note. I imagine a lot of people would have loved to pick up some more points after last year's thrashing in Gainesville, but Spurrier and the team got the win they needed to remain hopeful for a great finish to this season. 

Now comes the tough part. 


South Carolina must wait to see what happens with Missouri as they finish up their season the next two weeks against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. The coaching staff will be sure to keep the players focused on their games and not Missouri's. However, you can bet everyone's eyes will be glued into this Saturday night's game against Ole Miss for the Tigers. South Carolina will have already gotten their game with Coastal Carolina out of the way and will be able to see if the Rebels can pull the upset. 

If they do, you can bet there will be some fruit baskets sent to Oxford as a "thank you" to the Rebels for helping South Carolina get to the SEC Championship. 

What once looked impossible weeks ago, now seems like a realistic possibility. 

You've got to like those chances. 

But for now, we wait.