COLUMBIA, S.C. — Will Muschamp knew what was coming. That’s what was so frustrating for South Carolina’s first-year coach.
All Muschamp could do was hope that the Georgia running back trio of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Brian Herrien wouldn’t combine to rush for 336 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But that’s what happened.
“They didn’t have to throw it,” he said sheepishly after South Carolina’s 28-14 loss to Georgia on Sunday.
Not many teams need to when they’re playing the Gamecocks. Muschamp’s group entered the SEC East showdown at Williams-Brice Stadium giving up more than 200 yards per game on the ground.
“(Georgia) threw it 17 times,” Muschamp said. “That was probably 17 times too many.”
Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason completed 5 of those passes for 29 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The former 5-star recruit who’s still feeling his way through Year 1 in the SEC wasn’t the primary concern for Muschamp when he entered the workweek.
“We didn’t get our job done as a defense,” said Gamecocks linebacker T.J. Holloman, who recorded 5 tackles. “Our job was to come in and stop the run. That’s what the coaches laid out for us this week. We just didn’t do that.”
For fellow linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams, the team’s leader with 9 tackles, that’s what made the Sunday result “very frustrating.”
“We knew what they were going to do,” he said. “We just didn’t stop it as many times as we needed to.”
According to defensive back Antoine Wilder, that wasn’t the case during the week at practice.
“We (executed) in practice, but it’s different when the actual team actually runs it,” he said. “We’ve got to (execute) better.”
No offense to South Carolina’s scout-team running backs, but they’re not Chubb, a 5-foot-10, 228-pound dynamo whom Allen-Williams raved about during his postgame interview.
“He’s a very powerful back. He’s fast. (His) elusiveness kind of shows you at times because he is a bigger back,” Allen-Williams said. “He’s a very good guy. You know he’s going to play on Sundays.
“Our challenge was we knew we had (to face) two running backs that are going to play on Sundays. We had to go attack it and embrace it.”
Easier said than done. Michel rushed 21 times for 133 yards. Chubb had 121 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 carries. Herrien chipped in with 9 runs for 82 yards.
“You can stunt and do as much of the stuff as we did (Sunday), but eventually you’ve got to defeat a block, you’ve got to get off a block and you’ve got to make a tackle,” Muschamp said. “That’s been an issue here for a long time, so that’s something we’re dealing with and we’re trying as best to work through.
“It’s very, very frustrating to know something is coming and have a hard time stopping it. That’s very frustrating.”