The Daily Gamecock

Indecision costs Gamecocks 2 costly timeouts

Grambling State players decision to forfeit game foolish

Many people were left scratching their heads after Tennessee kicker Michael Palardy kicked through the game-winning field goal against South Carolina this past Saturday, and for good reason.

The latter half of the fourth quarter was a bizarre sequence of indecision and questionable calls.

With just less than three minutes to go in the game, the Gamecocks were clinging to a one-point lead and were facing a fourth-and-2 from their own 26-yard line. Head coach Steve Spurrier sent out the offense, then called a timeout and brought them back. Soon after, Spurrier sent out the offense again and called another timeout. Finally, Spurrier sent out the punt team and punted the ball to Tennessee.

In his postgame press conference, Spurrier said he was thinking about going for it and said in hindsight that they should have gone for the first down.

But as a result of the hesitancy, South Carolina had one timeout to use instead of three to stop the clock. Tennessee was able to run down the clock to the last three seconds and kick the game-winning 19-yard kick.

To Spurrier’s credit, those timeouts probably wouldn’t have stopped the Volunteers from scoring. Marquez North’s unbelievable one-handed catch put the Vols into field-goal range and tailback Marlin Lane picked up two more first downs to get Tennessee inside the 10-yard line.

However, if Spurrier had stuck to his guns and went for the first down the first time around, they might have made it, and been able to possibly run out the clock. Or, if they had gotten stuffed, Tennessee would have undoubtedly scored, but there would also would have been time on the clock for the Gamecocks offense to try and answer, thanks to the three timeouts.

Instead, the offense sat helplessly on the sideline while the clock melted away. Spurrier used his last timeout to try and ice Palardy on the equivalent of a PAT attempt.

Spurrier, rightfully so, said that if the Gamecocks would have not gotten the first down, he would have looked “stupid”. If South Carolina had been unable to answer Tennessee, he would be receiving more heat than he is now for going for it deep inside his own territory.

But, the Gamecocks should have either gone for it right away or punted the ball right away.

Tailback Mike Davis has been known to carry multiple defenders on his back on his way to converting short-yardage situations this season. Davis said after the game that he wanted to go for the first down, and who could blame him? Davis racked up 140 rushing yards on 21 carries against the Volunteers, good for six-and-a-half yards per carry.

On the other hand, the Gamecock defense had forced two three-and-outs in a row and had the momentum.

So either decision, made without hesitation, would have been better than what Spurrier did. Wasting two critical timeouts handicapped South Carolina and aided Tennessee to its first win over a ranked team since 2009, which also happened to be against the Gamecocks in Knoxville.

Grambling State

What the heck are the Grambling State players thinking? I would have never thought that a team would do such a selfish act to try and make a point.

Grambling State football players refused to travel to a scheduled road game against Jackson State, resulting in the game being forfeited.

The disgruntled players wrote a letter explaining their actions, noting that there was mold all over the facilities and that the team had to make 14- and 17-hour bus rides, among other things.

The neglect comes after the university has been forced to make severe cuts to its athletics department. According to school spokesman Will Sutton, the university had to slash its budget by 57 percent over the course of the past several years and athletics had been spared up until this season.

In response, some of the players figured it would be a good idea to refuse to play the scheduled game.

The forfeit resulted in Grambling State being fined 20,000 by the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Obviously, the players didn’t think this one through. They were upset that the school wasn’t doing enough to support them, so they cost the school $20,000 from its already depleted funds.

Instead of making a point, the players made an unfortunate situation even worse. They caused the fans of both schools to miss out on one of the few football games they will get to experience this season and they caused their university to be fined.

There are plenty of people who would love to play college football, even at Grambling State. These players should be thankful to the university for giving them a scholarship to play football, despite the less than stellar conditions they were in. They could have negotiated with officials to find a solution, but forfeiting a game was not the right thing to do and the ones involved should be ashamed of themselves.


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