Mistakes by South Carolina on Saturday night caused the Gamecock football team to fall to No. 16 Tennessee by a score of 31-27 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Volunteers sealed their victory late in the fourth quarter after recovering a fumbled punt by Gamecock Cam Smith. That took away a game-winning drive opportunity from the South Carolina offense, and Tennessee then kneeled out the final minutes of the game.
“When it’s a rugby situation, which it was, that ball bounces around, and it’s just an unfortunate bounce for us and we got to get it communicated better; we gotta coach it better,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “It’s something we had worked on in camp but, obviously, not enough, so we’ll go back and look at it.”
Another mistake came in the second quarter, as graduate transfer quarterback Collin Hill threw a pick-six into the hands of Volunteer sophomore linebacker Henry To’o To’o and gave Tennessee its first lead of the game.
“The play that sticks out to me is the pick-six. You can’t turn the ball over,” Hill said. “I understand that there’s a lot of plays in a game that are factors, but I can’t turn it over ... and give up points, and unfortunately I did that and lost by four, so that’s on me. I gotta be better than that.”
Despite these errors, the offense under new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was able to create a surge in the third quarter with 155 yards of offense and 14 unanswered points. Both third quarter touchdowns came from Hill with a 29-yard pass to Shi Smith and a one-yard run to tie the ball game.
However, this offensive surge died down in the fourth quarter, when the Gamecocks only put up 6 points off a pair of field goals from redshirt senior kicker Parker White.
The second field goal scored was settled for after tight end Nick Muse couldn't corral in an overthrown pass from Hill that would’ve led to a first down.
“A lot of plays in a game,” Hill said. “It was one of those we wish we had back; wish I could’ve just stuck it right in his heart, but I gotta go and see on film what it looks like.”
The Gamecocks will now travel to Gainesville, Florida, to take on No. 5 Florida next Saturday, Oct. 3. The Gators are coming off a 51-35 win in their season opener over the Ole Miss Rebels. South Carolina will be looking to win its first game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium since 2014.
“It starts tomorrow,” junior linebacker Ernest Jones said. “We got nine games left. We’re going to get up and fight or we’re going to lay down, and I don’t plan on laying down, so we’re going to be up, we’re going to be ready to play, ready to roll when the next game comes around.”