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Backup quarterback Austin Appleby guides Gators to verge of division title

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This time, it was good that Will Muschamp didn’t bring a lot of offense to Florida Field.

Muschamp, the former coach of the Florida Gators, couldn’t muster much an attack in his return to Gainesville Saturday. His South Carolina Gamecocks gained only 256 yards in a 20-7 loss to the Gators. Florida, despite two fumbles and an interception, built a quick lead and won comfortably.

The Gators are now 7-2 and in the lead of the SEC East. They can win it outright next week against LSU. Because Tennessee beat Kentucky Saturday, the Gators may have to beat the Tigers to reach the SEC title game.

South Carolina was able to run for only 43 yards.

For Florida, running back Jordan Scarlett rushed for 134 yards.

“Those young guys went ahead and played their tale off,”Florida coach  Jim McElwain said on CBS after the win. “I’m just happy for these guys, this is a great group of guys to be around they’re a lot of fun to be around. They play hard. We just have to play a little better.”

Appleby was efficient, hitting 17 of 21 passes for 201 yards.

“He did alright,” McElwain said about Appleby. “We’re going to be back to work and get up tomorrow and put a plan together. That’s what it’s all about.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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