South Carolina’s fourth consecutive loss may ultimately be one of its toughest — not just this season, but perhaps in the past decade.
The Gamecocks entered the game 9-0 against FCS opponents since they began playing against at least one FCS team a season back in 2006. But a 23-22 defeat at home against The Citadel — their first loss to an FCS foe since 1990 — is a blemish that could stick with the Gamecocks for much longer than this season.
Facing fourth down while backed up against its own end zone, South Carolina appeared to have pulled off a miraculous touchdown throw from Perry Orth to Pharoh Cooper that would have been the go-ahead score. But a false-start penalty negated the play and ultimately doomed the Gamecocks.
After trailing 14-9 at halftime, South Carolina showed life in the second half. The Gamecocks led twice in the second half — even in the fourth quarter — after a 41-yard touchdown pass to Cooper put the team on top with eight minutes left in the game.
However, Tyler Renew and The Citadel responded. Renew raced 56 yards for against the South Carolina defense for The Citadel’s first touchdown since the opening quarter to take a 1-point lead with six minutes remaining.
The Citadel maintained momentum by stopping South Carolina on its ensuing offensive possession. The Gamecocks failed to convert on fourth down and The Citadel regained possession with the clock winding down.
Once the Bulldogs had the ball, they did not let go. The Citadel drained the game clock and, after a fortunate turn of events on fourth down, held on for the win.