COLUMBIA, S.C. — After laying an egg in the biggest game in a long time, the South Carolina football team began its fourth quarter Saturday with one more on the way out.
Trailing 13-0 after nearly 49 minutes against Louisiana Tech, South Carolina rallied with 17 points in the fourth quarter, to improve to 3-1 (1-1 SEC) under second-year coach Will Muschamp.
The 17-16 win, even if it was a Maalox-masher against a Conference USA opponent, provided the Gamecocks with the result they needed after a miserable loss to Kentucky, to go along with key injuries to wide receiver Deebo Samuel (leg), right tackle Zack Bailey (ankle) and linebacker/defensive end Bryson Allen-Williams (shoulder).
“It says a lot about the resiliency and the character of our football team,” Muschamp said. “The culture of our football team is outstanding. There was no one negative on our sideline. Everyone was positive. Everyone kept fighting their butts off and gave great effort.”
He added, “After a week of a lot of negativity, I’m very proud of how they handled coming back, under very adverse circumstances. That says a lot about the young men and the type of character we’ve got in that locker room and the leadership we have in that locker room.”
Redshirt freshman kicker Parker White, who missed a pair of 50-plus-yard kicks in the 23-13 loss to Kentucky, was one of the targets on social media. The vitriol spilled over to Saturday after he missed kicks (34, 46) against Louisiana Tech.
“The first half didn’t go the way I wanted to. I didn’t make my kicks. The biggest thing as a kicker is you’ve got to forget about the previous kicks and move on to the next one,” White said. “That’s what I did and I was fortunate enough to make it, thanks to all of my teammates and thanks to God and coaches, everyone that just got me here.”
White, who walked onto the South Carolina football team earlier this year, nailed the game-winner, a 31-yard boot with :04 to play.
White’s roommate, quarterback Jake Bentley, spent the entire week telling him the loss to Kentucky wasn’t his fault.
“I’m like, ‘First of all, it wasn’t your fault. Second of all, we all could have played better. Thirdly, you’re going to have to make one for us. You’re going to have to step up and make one for us,’” Bentley said. “He really rebounded in a big way this week in practice, and even during the game.
“[White] kept his confidence and he kept battling, and I think he kind of epitomizes today what it took for us to win. He just kept battling through adversity and found a way to get it done. That’s what he did and that’s what he did at the end of the game in a big moment.”