Another early deficit, another late push and another heartbreaking loss. As the old Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier would say: “Welp.”
The Gamecocks lost to Florida, ending the team’s last-ditch efforts for a bowl bid and solidifying the team’s first losing season since 2003, Lou Holtz’s next-to-last year.
Four about three quarters of the game, it was a bleak performance for the offense. The team had 44 yards of offense, which equates to132 feet.
That’s just a little bit longer than the average basketball court.
But in the fourth quarter the offense and defense seemingly came alive (until the final five minutes) to keep things interesting.
The game gave fans a lot to think about, so here are five opinions from Saturday’s game.
1. Down year or not, Pharoh Cooper is still one of the best wide outs in the league.
Last year through 10 games, Cooper had 825 yards receiving. This year, he’s a little bit under last year’s mark at 696 yards. But just because he’s been statistically less productive doesn’t mean he hasn’t been the same old Pharoh fans have grown to love. He demonstrated how valuable he is to his team against Florida, throwing a pretty pass to Perry Orth for a touchdown then catching a touchdown on the next offensive drive. He’s been the backbone for this offense, especially Saturday, when it seems like not many other people have wanted to step up.
2. The offensive line has some holes to fill.
After a shaky start at Tennessee last weekend, the offensive line followed it up with another rocky game against the Gators. Perry Orth was sacked four times, hurried once and seemed to have a deer-in-the-headlights look many times when he dropped back to pass. Along with that, the offensive line allowed the Florida defense to get seven tackles for loss. Oh, and the Gamecocks, who have relied heavily on their rushing attack all season, put up a meager, season-low 21 yards rushing. It’s imperative to get better up front with Clemson coming in two weeks from now.
3. New helmets are pretty darn cool.
Did everyone see how hyped the team was when getting the sick, tail-feather helmets before the game? Standing outside the tunnel before “2001,” it was easy to see how happy and excited the team was wearing something non-traditional and new. Now fancy feathers don’t translate to wins, but it’s a nice thing to show potential recruits to help attract them to campus.
4. Sean Kelly was a cannon in another life.
I don’t really believe in the whole reincarnation thing, but if I did, that statement would make a lot of sense. He’s been the MVP of this team without any doubt and Saturday showed just that. Kelly had six punts for 280 yards and three were downed inside Florida’s 20-yard-line. Kelly’s 280 yards punting is 79 more yards than the Gamecocks had all day. His 69-yard punt was the longest play of the day for the Gamecocks.
5. Be wary of The Citadel.
Yes, the Bulldogs are from the FCS, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly. They run a triple-option offense and will face USC's No. 104-ranked rush defense in the FBS. That could spell danger under the right circumstances. South Carolina is athletically the more gifted team, but The Citadel could pose some matchup problems for the Gamecocks.