It's time to talk about South Carolina, as our Best/Worst series continues:
It's really a tossup when you think about which win was better for the Gamecocks this season. A 35-7 win continued South Carolina's solid run over the Bulldogs, while the Gamecocks extended their winning streak over Clemson to four games with their 27-17 win at the end of the season. But that Georgia win pushed South Carolina to the top of the SEC East and set things in motion for the Gamecocks to try to go back to Atlanta for the conference title game. The Gamecocks dominated every area of the game against the Bulldogs. South Carolina out-gained Georgia 392-224 and harassed quarterback Aaron Murray all day. He completed just 11 of his 31 passes for 109 yards and an interception. Georgia's only score came when the game was well out of hand in the fourth quarter.
Losing back-to-back games to LSU and Florida essentially knocked the Gamecocks out of the SEC East race. But it was the first half against Florida that really wrecked South Carolina's chances of having a championship season. It was the first loss to an SEC East opponent since 2010, but put the Gamecocks even further behind the Gators in the East. Quarterback Connor Shaw's fumble on the first play from scrimmage led to a Florida touchdown less than a minute into the game. Florida later blocked a field goal in the second quarter and then forced an Ace Sanders fumble 30 seconds later. That turnover led to another Florida touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Damiere Byrd fumbled, leading to yet another Gators touchdown on the next drive, which gave Florida a 21-3 lead. The Gamecocks basically laid the ball down for the Gators in the first half and dug too deep a hole to get out of. The Gators went on to score 23 points in the second half to win 44-11.