COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Kyle Trask threw for a career-high four touchdowns, three in the fourth quarter, to help No. 9 Florida bounce back from its loss at LSU and outlast South Carolina 38-27 on Saturday.
The Gators (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) slogged through a soggy field from Tropical Storm Nestor for much of the game. But they eventually came to life and rallied past a South Carolina (3-4, 2-3) team looking to take down a Top 10 opponent for the second straight week after its 20-17 double-overtime win at Georgia.
Instead, it was Florida, off its 42-28 defeat at LSU, that kept making plays on the way to its best start since 2015.
”We have a very resilient team,” Trask said. ”We’re never going to panic, no matter the situation.”
That was evident in the second half.
After Trask’s interception deep in Florida territory led to Tavien Feaster’s 21-yard TD run to put the Gamecocks up 17-10, Dameon Pierce answered right back with a 75-yard scoring run on Florida’s next snap to tie it.
In the final period, down 20-17, Trask faced fourth-and-3 on South Carolina’s 34 before scrambling from pressure to pick up the first down with a 9-yard pass to Kyle Pitts. Trask followed with the go-ahead 25-yard touchdown throw to Lamical Perine.
Florida’s defense came through down the stretch, too, after the Gators took the lead. Defensive end Zachary Carter sacked Ryan Hilinski, who fumbled as nose tackle Kyree Campbell recovered.
Trask, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 200 yards, finished the series with a 5-yard TD pass to Pitts before a final scoring pass of 5 yards to Trevon Grimes.
South Carolina, still buoyed by its win over Georgia, looked strong well into the second half and seemed poised once more shuffle the SEC East race with an upset.
But like a year ago, when Florida rallied from 31-14 down to defeat the Gamecocks 35-31, South Carolina could not hold.
”Get the lead in fourth quarter, got to make some plays. We didn’t do that,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said.
Hilinski, who sprained his knee in the Georgia win, was not sharp for most of this game. The freshman completed 17 of 35 throws for 170 yards.
Feaster, the Clemson graduate transfer, ran for 175 yards for South Carolina, which was outscored 21-7 in the final period.
Things got so frustrating on the Gamecocks sidelines that Muschamp drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the closing minutes.
Florida executed a seven-play, 52-yard drive with 9:54 left in the game, giving the Gators a 24-20 lead that they would never relinquish. Kyle Trask hit Freddy Swain with a 25-yard pass as the Gators scored 21 points in the fourth quarter.
175 – Tavien Feaster ran for 175 yards on the day, which was a career high and was first time a Gamecock has run for 175 yards since Rico Dowdle rank for 226 yards against Western Carolina in 2016. Feaster had 25 carries and a touchdown in the contest.
The Gamecocks travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to face Tennessee Saturday afternoon (Oct. 26) at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
Courtesy: Associated Press