Instant analysis: FSU 26, South Carolina 17

Florida State defeated South Carolina 26-17 on Friday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Here’s an instant analysis from the game:

How the game was won: Florida State took advantage of five South Carolina turnovers, including four in the first half, and built a 16-3 lead and never trailed in the game. The Seminoles were also able to run the football effectively against the Gamecocks, finishing with 218 rushing yards. South Carolina entered the game ranked ninth nationally against the run, allowing an average of 104.3 yards per game.

Turning point: The Gamecocks pulled within 19-17 with 11:56 to play on Brian Maddux’s 7-yard touchdown run and appeared to have the momentum. On the ensuing kickoff, Florida State’s Greg Reid fumbled, but the Seminoles were able to recover. What’s more, South Carolina was whistled for a 15-yard personal foul penalty because of a late hit. Florida State responded by driving 63 yards in 13 plays for a touchdown to put the game away.

Player of the game: South Carolina sophomore receiver Alshon Jeffery had nine catches for 130 yards, giving him 1,517 receiving yards for the season.

Stat of the game: The Gamecocks turned the ball over five times. In their last three bowl games, they’ve committed a total of 12 turnovers.

Injury front: The entire complexion of the game changed for South Carolina when freshman running back Marcus Lattimore was knocked out of the game with a concussion on the Gamecocks’ opening offensive possession.

What it means: The Gamecocks (9-5) saw their bowl misery continue. They’ve now lost three straight bowl games and haven’t played anything resembling a decent game in any of the three. The 2010 season produced a lot of firsts for the Gamecocks, who went to their first-ever SEC championship game and won nine or more games for only the third time in school history. Ending the season with a pair of disappointing losses takes some of the luster off of what should have been a season to remember in Columbia. Instead, Steve Spurrier is saddled with his sixth straight season at South Carolina where he’s lost at least five games.

What it means II: The SEC is now a robust 0-3 this season in bowl games.