The South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off an upset win over No. 15 Auburn, beating the Tigers 30-22 in what Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp said was a “very physical game.”
Muschamp said he was pleased with his team's overall performance, calling it a “great team win.”
Offensively, the Gamecocks moved the ball well on the ground. Sophomore running back Kevin Harris reached the end zone twice and rushed for 83 yards, and redshirt sophomore running back Deshaun Fenwick added 68 rushing yards of his own.
Defensively, the Gamecocks were led by junior defensive back Jaycee Horn. Horn notched his first and second career interceptions and totaled four pass breakups in the effort. This performance prompted the Walter Camp Football Foundation to name him National Defensive Player of the Week.
This effort was not unnoticed by Muschamp, who called it “an exceptional game.”
Auburn’s sophomore quarterback Bo Nix completed 51.1% of his passes and totaled 272 yards with three interceptions. He also found senior wide receiver Eli Stove for a touchdown.
The absence of junior cornerback Israel Mukuamu allowed redshirt freshman safety Shilo Sanders to get more snaps at the safety position. Additionally, Muschamp said he had “a lot of production,” which can be seen by his team-leading 10 tackles in the game.
Sophomore cornerback John Dixon has also seen an uptick in snaps due to Mukuamu’s injury.
Muschamp has decided to keep injury talks to a minimum due to the coronavirus, but he said the team wants to have Mukuamu holding down the corner spot opposite Horn.
The Gamecocks will look to ride the momentum from this upset into Baton Rouge for a contest with the LSU Tigers on Oct. 24.
Since their championship-winning campaign, the Tigers have already fallen to Mississippi State and Missouri this season. Against Mississippi, the team gave up 44 points, and against Missouri, 45 points.
The Gamecocks will need to contain junior wide receiver Terrance Marshall Jr., who has found the end zone seven times through the first three games. Coming off a career game, Horn will have a tough assignment in covering Marshall.
LSU's freshman tight end Arik Gilbert has also been a problem for defenses this season, posting 177 receiving yards thus far. His frame has made him a nightmare matchup in the red zone, but Muschamp said the Gamecocks were "outstanding" in the red zone against Auburn.
Muschamp said the team has some stuff to “build on in moving into this week," but the Gamecocks are primed to pull off upsets in back-to-back weeks if they perform like last week.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Death Valley in Baton Rouge and will be televised on ESPN.