USC took an everything but the kitchen sink offensive approach at 5th ranked Auburn Saturday night and it darn near worked. The Gamecocks went blow for blow with the Tigers, but in the end they came up a tad short in a wild 42-35 loss at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Steve Spurrier dug deep into his bag of tricks, going for it on fourth down six times, including four on his half of the field. They converted four of those. The Gamecocks used an onside kick, trick plays, the Wildcat formation and anything else they could think of, but it wasn’t enough to pull the big upset.
“I tell you what, we had a throw at the end zone there at the end, didn’t we,” Spurrier said. “…That was almost a fun one out there, it was almost a fun one.”
Truth be told, USC’s offense and the special teams did more than enough to win the game. The problem was the defense had no answer for Auburn’s high powered running offense. The Gamecocks forced a punt on the Tigers first possession before the Tigers scored on each of their next six drives. They were long drives, too; 92 yards, 93 yards, 75 yards, 88 yards, and two straight 75 yards drives. The second to last score happened on one long run play.
Auburn’s defense didn’t have much luck stopping USC, but the difference was the Tigers found a way to force two turnovers in the red zone. Dylan Thompson threw an interception from the Auburn 11 in the first quarter, and from just inside the 20 in the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks had a seven point lead on the first pick and were in position to reclaim the lead on the fourth quarter turnover. The game ended with an Auburn interception in the end zone, but that was a desperation pass from the Tigers 41.
During his postgame press conference Spurrier looked down at the stats and looked said, “We were only two of five in red zone scoring chances? Whew, that’s the worst we’ve been all year. That’s why we got beat I guess.”
- Auburn rushed for 416 yards. The finished with 551 yards of total offense.
- USC finished with 551 yards of total offense. It is the first time since 1995 that the Gamecocks have had 500+ yards of offense for three straight games.
- Spurrier said he would have gone for two if they would have tied the game on the final possession.
- Pharoh Cooper caught seven passes for a career high 127 yards. He also had two touchdowns.
- Auburn is now 10-1-1 all-time against USC.
LOCKER ROOM REACTION:
Here is the post game reaction from Steve Spurrier, Dylan Thompson, Mike Davis and Lorenzo Ward
QUARTER RECAPS AND FINAL STATS: