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(Saturday, November 13th)
Final Score: (22) South Carolina 36, (24) Florida 14
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore rushed for 212 yards and three scores on 40 carries, as the 22nd-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks secured a trip to their first-ever SEC Championship Game with a 36-14 victory over the 24th-ranked Florida Gators.
Stephen Garcia connected on 15-of-22 passes for 156 yards for the Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3 SEC), who clinched the SEC Eastern Division championship with the victory. Garcia also carried the ball 12 times for 28 yards and a score to give South Carolina its first-ever win over the Gators in Gainesville (1-12 all-time).
The Gamecocks will face the Auburn Tigers, who won the SEC West, in the conference title game on December 4.
This was Steve Spurrier's biggest win as head coach of the Gamecocks. Spurrier was a champion both as a player and a coach during his time in Gainesville. The 65-year-old was head coach of the Gators from 1990-2001, winning six SEC championships and a National Championship (1996) during that span.
John Brantley completed 16-of-31 passes for 130 yards and an interception for the Gators (6-4, 4-4), who had won three out of the last four SEC Eastern Division titles. Jordan Reed connected on 3-of-7 passes for 46 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
The Gators took a quick 7-0 lead without even having to put their offense on the field. Andre Debose received the opening kickoff and raced 99 yards untouched for a touchdown.
South Carolina did not let the early score rattle them. The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, and the Gamecocks put together an eight-play drive. Spencer Lanning made a 49-yard field goal to make it 7-3 just over five minutes in.
The visitors got the ball near midfield following a series of punts. Lattimore ended a six-play march with a seven-yard rushing TD. Lanning missed the extra point to make it a 9-7 contest with over 2 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.
Lanning made a pair of field goals in the second stanza to give South Carolina a 15-7 margin at the break.
The Gamecocks got the ball to start the second half and put together an eight- play, 72-yard drive. D.L. Moore and Tori Gurley kept the drive alive with third-down catches before Lattimore capped things with a 21-yard TD run for a 22-7 margin with just over 10 minutes to go in the period.
Brantley was picked off by Stephon Gilmore in Florida territory near the end of the third quarter. South Carolina gave the ball to Lattimore three straight times before Garcia scampered into the end zone from eight yards out for a 29-7 lead with about 13 1/2 minutes to play in the contest.
That pretty much put a wrap on the game, as Chris Rainey scored for the Gators and Lattimore recorded his third TD to account for the final margin.
Florida owns a commanding 23-5-3 series advantage over South Carolina, which includes a 24-14 victory over the Gamecocks last season. The Gators had won four in a row in the series...South Carolina recorded two straight SEC road victories for the first time since 2008, when the Gamecocks beat Mississippi and Kentucky in consecutive weeks...The Gamecocks got their fifth SEC win of the season, guaranteeing a winning SEC record for the fourth time since joining the conference in 1992...The Gators had won 16 in a row against SEC Eastern Division opponents, dating back to October 27,2007...Florida was looking to sweep its SEC East slate for the third consecutive season and 11th time since divisional play began in 1992.
11/13 23:39:10 ET