COLUMBIA, S.C. — East Carolina coach Scottie Montgomery and his players were saying all the right things Saturday after South Carolina’s 20-15 win.
The coach speak and clichés must have been coping mechanisms for the Pirates, whose offense committed 3 turnovers inside the Gamecocks 10-yard line.
“Hats off to South Carolina,” said QB Philip Nelson, after connecting on 44 of 58 passes for 400 yards and a touchdown. “They did a great job. At the same time, I just felt like we didn’t do a great job executing down there. The plays were left out there for us to make.”
The senior also threw a pair of interceptions to JaMarcus King and Chris Lammons.
“Just a bad ball. I didn’t put enough on it,” Nelson said of King’s pick. “And the second one, (I) just didn’t get it outside far enough.”
The third turnover was a fumble at the 5-yard line, which the Gamecocks pounced on in the end zone.
“I think they have a great football team and they did a good job,” Montgomery said. “We just have to play better in the red zone and be able to put it all together at certain times.”
Getting there wasn’t an issue. ECU moved up and down the field with relative ease.
East Carolina had possession for 38 minutes, 25 seconds and punted only twice. To go along with Nelson’s 400 passing yards, Pirates ball carriers combined for 119 rushing yards.
But turnovers were a big issue. So were penalties, as ECU was flagged for 8 for 75 yards.
“It’s frustrating, but the game is over and done with,” OL J.T. Boyd said. “There’s nothing we can change about it. Defense played their hearts out and, offensively, we’ve got to fix our mistakes.”
On Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium, the Gamecocks were the benefactors of the blunders.