COLUMBIA, S.C. – It turns out South Carolina’s offense isn’t much more consistent on Sunday than it is on Saturday.
It was the same story on a different day for the Gamecocks against Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium. USC could not muster enough offense once again, losing 28-14 to Georgia in a game moved to Sunday because of Hurricane Matthew.
The Gamecocks got in the end zone on a hard 9-yard Deebo Samuel run in the third quarter. But it could not get back into the red zone until late in the fourth quarter. Rico Dowdle scored a 1-yard touchdown to pull USC within a score with 1:40 to play.
Those combined 10 yards on scoring plays accounted for a third of South Carolina’s rushing total, an abysmal 30 yards.
Three first-half turnovers matched the three first-half first downs USC recorded, the type of self-inflicted injury that a team like this cannot afford. The mistakes were only aided by special teams miscues, none more glaring than the final Georgia score as Terry Godwin returned an onside kick for a 43-yard touchdown.
On the other side, Georgia had no issue running the ball on a USC defense that had a stout showing against Texas A&M last week. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel ran for more than 100 yards each, while No. 3 running back Brian Herrien had 82.
Perry Orth played an entire game for the first time this season, throwing for 288 yards on 26 of 36 passing. He benefited from Samuel’s return as the sophomore had a pair of long receptions.
Moment that mattered
South Carolina finally had momentum with a long touchdown drive and a following defensive stop. But tight end Hayden Hurst had the Georgia punt go bouncing past him around the 25-yard line. It rolled all the way to the USC 4, where USC went three-and-out.
Georgia took over inside South Carolina territory, was in the red zone two plays later and scored a touchdown to take a 21-7 lead.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 9, 2016
How much was the offense missing Bryan Edwards and Deebo Samuel?
A lot. A whole lot.
Samuel accounted for two big explosive plays, pass receptions of 33 and 39 yards. He also had an impressive touchdown run, his second of the season. The two long passes gave USC its first two chance inside Georgia territory and were probably the best two passes of the game for Orth.
Samuel finished with four catches for 90 yards.
Edwards was targeted on a few deep passes and had three receptions for 35 yards.
— SEC (@SEC) October 9, 2016
Chubb and Michel both had a lot of success for Georgia throughout the game. But the first quarter was the most jarring.
Georgia racked up 113 yards rushing in the first 15 minutes, while South Carolina had zero.
What it means
South Carolina’s offense heads into bye week needing improvement still. Surely, the comments will again indicate that USC believes it is right there on offense.
Maybe it is. There are moments, but too few and far between.
So South Carolina has an off week to get healthy, re-evaluate areas it has to improve. But a bowl game, which already seemed like a long shot, is even more unlikely now.