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The South Carolina football team takes the field during its "2001" entrance.
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The South Carolina football team takes the field during its "2001" entrance.

College Sports

Why South Carolina’s drive before halftime went exactly as planned ... almost

By Ben Breiner


October 07, 2017 11:58 PM

The first three run calls drew boos.

Fans want their teams to go for touchdowns late in the half. Saturday against Arkansas, South Carolina got the ball with 1:58 left in the second quarter and appeared content to go to the locker room.

But the Gamecocks weren’t.

After three runs and a first down, USC started throwing. Passes went to OrTre Smith for 12 yards and Hayden Hurst for 14. Then Bryan Edwards drew a penalty and leapt over a defender for a touchdown with four seconds left.

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South Carolina coach Will Muschamp explained the 69-yard march to put USC up 17-10 went according to plan, save for the illegal substitution call that had him fiery after the game.

“We wanted to get the first down before we went fast,” Muschamp said. “We had plenty of time and we had two timeouts, so there was no hurry. The worst thing we could have done was leave time on the clock.”

He then dropped a mildly nonfamily-friendly word about the penalty before explaining.

“Inexcusable coaching is what it is,” Muschamp said. “And I’ll get it corrected. That’s on me.”


▪  Arkansas pulled its starting quarterback with nearly 13 minutes left in the game. USC responded by pulling a number of defensive starters.

That was after the Gamecocks went up 31.

▪  Safety Steven Montac saw his first significant action since the opener. A foot injury had nagged him most of the season.

He made two tackles, but his biggest contribution was a devastating hit that jarred a deep third-down pass from the hands of a recover. The Gamecocks scored their first touchdown a play later and were off to the races.

▪  For the sixth time in as many games, South Carolina won the toss and elected to receive. They drove, but settled for a long field goal, which Parker White missed. When starting with the ball, the Gamecocks scored on a kick return in the season opener and had an opening-drive touchdown against Kentucky. But South Carolina came up empty against Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M and Missouri.

▪  The Gamecocks captains were linebacker Skai Moore, center Alan Knott, defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth.

▪  South Carolina went back to its jet sweep run game. Hayden Hurst got two carries for 12 yards and receiver Bryan Edwards took his first career carry for 11.

▪  The only injury concern out of the game was K.C. Crosby’s ankle. Muschamp said Sherrod Greene’s arm injury and Dennis Daley’s cramps were nothing to worry about.