If South Carolina’s season wasn’t already in a tailspin, the Gamecocks could be on the verge of falling to an FCS opponent today.
South Carolina trails The Citadel, 14-9, at halftime at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Update: Pharoh Cooper’s game-winning touchdown is negated by a false-start penalty. South Carolina loses to the Citadel, 23-22, snapping a nine-game winning streak against FCS opponents dating back to 2006.
Update: The Citadel found the end zone for the first time since the opening quarter as Tyler Renew got loose for a 52-yard touchdown run. The Citadel took a 23-22 lead with just more than six minutes left in the game.
Update: Pharoh Cooper does it again. South Carolina’s sparkplug hauled in a 41-yard touchdown from Perry Orth to put the Gamecocks back on top less than two minutes after The Citadel retook the lead. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, South Carolina held a 22-17 advantage with 8:40 to play.
Update: The Gamecocks defense had mustered five consecutive stops, but The Citadel finally came through. After a 12-play, 62-yard drive, placekicker Eric Goins drilled a 48-yard field goal through the uprights as The Citadel retook the lead, 17-16, with 10:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Update: After the South Carolina defense held strong against The Citadel, the Gamecocks finally found a rhythm on offense. Not surprisingly, it was sparked by a 47-yard throw-and-catch from quarterback Perry Orth to wide receiver Pharoh Cooper to pin South Carolina inside the red zone. From there, Brandon Wilds punched it in for the touchdown to put South Carolina ahead, 16-14, with the Gamecocks’ first lead of the game.
Moore is less
South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore did not play in the first half of the game after missing most of the week of practice due to a death in his family.
Moore leads the Gamecocks in both tackles and interceptions, and without the linebacker, South Carolina is short its top defender and the heart of the unit.
The Citadel entered this showdown with the FCS’s second-ranked rushing offense. It was considered a statistical mismatch against the Gamecocks, who rank 13th out of 14 SEC teams in rush defense and 104th overall in the nation.
The Citadel’s triple-option rushing attack has proven to be too much for South Carolina. In the first half, it piled up 190 yards and a 6.6 yard per carry average.
Wilds and out
South Carolina’s workhorse tailback had been taking advantage of more opportunities early on in Shawn Elliott’s reign as interim coach. However, Brandon Wilds was slowed down last week against Florida and again Saturday against The Citadel.
Wilds has amassed 33 yards on 11 carries, good for a 3.0 yard per carry average. As a team, the Gamecocks have totaled 36 yards on the ground.