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Jake Bentley threw 3 interceptions and rushed for 2 scores.

Despite early turnovers, South Carolina finds way to win again

Hale McGranahan

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Jake Bentley doubling his rushing touchdown total pretty much sums up what transpired between South Carolina and Florida on Saturday at Williams-Brice.

Weird, wild and wonderful, all mashed up into one gut-wrenching 28-20 win over the Gators (3-6, 3-5 SEC).

Bentley, who now leads the Gamecocks (7-5, 5-3) with 4 rushing touchdowns this season, tossed a trio of interceptions on Saturday.

The first pick was fumbled by cornerback C.J. Henderson, just as he was about to cross the home team’s goal line.

RELATED: Muschamp is ‘damn proud’ of the Gamecocks

A.J. Turner recovered the fumble, returned it 24 yards, to set up another Carolina first-down. Hayden Hurst, who knocked the ball loose from Henderson, “kind of epitomizes what this team is about and what we want every guy to be like on our team,” Bentley said.

Five plays later, Joseph Charlton punted from South Carolina’s 39, before the ball was muffed at the Florida 13.

“I was glad it broke that way, because I was getting booed for not going for it on fourth-and-1,” Muschamp said, with a laugh, “So it actually worked pretty good for us, but we threw the pick coming back.”

That pick, which squandered a chance to push the lead to 14-0, was thrown on the very next play from scrimmage. Fortunately, for South Carolina, Florida’s offense squandered the ensuing possession.

A third-down stop – the Gamecocks had 13 of them all day – changed possession once more.

No harm, no foul.

South Carolina went on to score a second touchdown before the end of the quarter. With a comfortable 14-0 lead, the Gamecocks cruised to a win in their final SEC game in Year 2 of the Muschamp era.

RELATED: What Muschamp said after the win

It hasn’t always been pretty, but seven wins are a lot easier on the eyes than a 3-9 record, which South Carolina finished with in 2015, Muschamp’s transition season between Gainesville in Columbia.

“We’ve showed tremendous resiliency this year,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of adversity, but our guys have continued to play and I’m real proud of what they’ve done.”