South Carolina report card: Gamecocks offense sputters in third straight loss
South Carolina extended its losing streak to three with a 24-14 loss Saturday against Florida at Williams-Brice Stadium. Interim coach Shawn Elliott dropped to 1-3 at the helm of the Gamecocks, who finished off their SEC schedule with a 1-7 mark.
Here are grades for South Carolina following the loss:
South Carolina amassed a season-low 201 yards of total offense and posted its second-lowest scoring output of the season (14 points) against a stingy Florida defense that has been on a roll. Quarterback Perry Orth threw for 163 yards, two touchdowns and also two interceptions, and the Gamecocks accounted for only 21 yards on the ground, far and away the lowest total of the season. South Carolina had accumulated only 44 yards of offense through the first three quarters and didn’t put a dent on the scoreboard until the fourth. For an offense that had seemingly found a groove under Elliott, it’s a tough performance to overlook.
Florida scored 17 consecutive points in the first three quarters and dictated the pace of the game. Kelvin Taylor gashed the Gamecocks’ porous run defense, which allowed more than 100 yards on the ground for a sixth consecutive game. South Carolina surrendered more than 400 yards of offense for the third consecutive game. The lone bright spot was the two interceptions, compliments of T.J. Gurley and Gerald Dixon.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C+
Truly a non-factor, South Carolina’s special teams didn’t have much influence on the final score. Because the offense stalled time and time again, South Carolina was forced to punt six times, which matched a season high. The Gamecocks have been forced to punt six times each of the last three weeks. Punter Sean Kelly averaged 46.7 yards per punt and set a new season high with a 69-yarder. He also dropped three punts inside the 20-yard line.
Elliott dropped to 1-3 on the season as South Carolina’s interim coach, and he did so on a day in which reports circulated the the university is close to naming a new coach. Elliott failed to get the Gamecocks to play up to the moment. South Carolina was returning to Columbia, S.C., for the first time in nearly a month, but it felt like the game was being played in Gainesville, Fla. Elliott likely needed to get a signature victory to give himself a legitimate chance to take the full-time coaching gig. Instead, with the exception of a few moments in the fourth quarter, his team laid a stinker against Florida.
The South Carolina offense and defense sputtered, evident by a 17-0 score in favor of Florida as the fourth quarterback got under way. The Gamecocks backed themselves into a corner with multiple turnovers while also failing to capitalize on the Gators’ errors. South Carolina posted season-worst performances in rushing yards and total yards of offense, and was only on the field for 20 minutes. The defense allowed Florida to convert 11-of-19 third downs and was gashed for more than 400 yards for a third consecutive game. The Gamecocks finished the season 1-7 against SEC foes, their worst record in the conference since Lou Holtz’s team went 0-8 in 1999.