USC looked dead in the water in the third quarter after falling behind Louisiana Tech 13-0. But the Gamecocks rallied and redshirt freshman placekicker Parker White, who had missed from 34 and 46 yards earlier, was true from 31 yards with four seconds left and the Gamecocks spoiled Skip Holtz’s return to Columbia with a 17-16 win.
It was a struggle all day long for Will Muschamp’s offense. Don’t let the 438 total yards fool ya. 211 of those yards came in the fourth quarter when the Gamecocks scored all their points. And they had to live off the big play…Jake Bentley to OrTre Smith for a 28 yard touchdown; Bentley to Bryan Edwards for 39 yards followed by a 35 yard touchdown run by Ty’Son Williams; and on their last drive, Bentley broke off a third down scramble for 24 yards to his own 45 and then hit Edwards with a 41 yard pass to the Bulldog 14 that set up the winning kick.
Will Muschamp’s postgame thoughts on the win over Louisiana Tech
Williams looked good running the ball on the game’s opening drive that reached the Tech 17 and ended with a missed field goal. He finished with 95 yards on 13 carries but he had a third quarter fumble and didn’t have another carry until his touchdown run.
The Gamecocks had one other decent drive in the first half but that, too, ended with a missed field goal by White. So, the Gamecocks were shut out in the first half of a game for the sixth time under Muschamp.
The Bulldogs took the second half kickoff and marched 75 yards in 12 plays for a 13-0 lead and things looked bleak on the Gamecock sideline. They were already without linebacker Byson Allen-Williams, who will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, and defensive end Dante Sawyer. And offensive guard Corey Helms went down with an Achilles injury causing some shifting on the line.
But things turned when JaMarcus King came up with an interception killing a Bulldog drive at the Gamecock three late in the third quarter. That led to a 16 play, 97 yard touchdown drive that got the Gamecocks back into it. Seven minutes later they took the lead only to give up on a 25 yard field goal with :55 to play.
A key point on that drive was Muschamp’s use of his timeouts. He used them hoping to preserve as much time as possible to give his team a chance. It was a smart coaching move and, of course, it paid off as the Gamecocks needed 51 of those seconds to go down the field and kick the game winner.
Parker White talks about his game winning kick
Jake Bentley on directing a fourth quarter rally
Certainly the win does not make up for the loss to Kentucky the previous weekend, but 3-1 at this point looks a heck of a lot better than 2-2 and certainly above the expectations most had for the Gamecocks thru four games.
And finally, the thoughts from Holtz on his first game back at Williams-Brice Stadium
Here’s my postgame Periscope recap from Williams-Brice:
USC post game…. https://t.co/zuEEhLLoSG
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) September 23, 2017
Part 2 of USC postgame Periscope….https://t.co/Mm7KsxLFo3
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) September 24, 2017