On Saturday evening at Williams-Brice Stadium, South Carolina pulled out a 23-14 win against Sun Belt foe Troy. This win moved its record to 3-2, snapping a two-game losing streak.
The Gamecocks opened the game with a 15-play, 70-yard drive, the longest of the day, which led to a field goal by redshirt senior kicker Parker White. White’s name was called upon frequently over the evening, and he hit three field goals. He has yet to miss one this season and is a superstitious person.
“I can’t shave my hair or anything. I need to keep my beard growing,” White said. “Hopefully I’ll be like Santa Claus come December.”
White’s use was in large part due to offensive penalties that impacted the Gamecocks during the game. The Gamecocks accounted for a total of 57 penalty yards on seven offensive penalties.
Troy answered the South Carolina field goal with a touchdown a few drives later, taking its only lead of the game at 7-3.
It seemed as though the Gamecocks gained all the momentum thereafter, as graduate student wide receiver EJ Jenkins stretched his arms out and ran into the end zone for a 16-yard receiving touchdown.
“(Jenkins) just keeps his head down, and he works,” sophomore quarterback Luke Doty said postgame. “That was awesome to see.”
To end the half, sophomore defensive back David Spaulding took a 74-yard interception to the house, giving the Gamecocks a double-digit lead at the break, 17-7.
This is where things became odd.
Troy converted third-down conversion after third-down conversion, finishing the day with an impressive 7-14 tilt. A couple of those early in the second half led toward a Troy rushing touchdown by redshirt freshman running back Jamontez Woods, cutting the Gamecock lead to 3.
As they stretched their lead out to 6 because of a White field goal, the Gamecocks believed they got the ball back to a redshirt sophomore defensive back Jahmar Brown interception. It was overturned for being an incompletion. That happened a couple more times in the afternoon.
To begin the fourth quarter, Jaylan Foster went speeding around the corner, forcing a Troy fumble. Fifth year linebacker Damani Staley picked it up and fumbled it again, as Brown ran it all the way to the one-yard line before dropping the ball through the endzone for a touchback, giving Troy the ball back.
“That was like the longest play in the history of college football,” head coach Shane Beamer said postgame.
South Carolina then got the ball back unscathed, but Doty fumbled it, giving Troy the ball back yet again. Doty had a great game otherwise, passing for 255 yards and a touchdown.
White ultimately kicked the game-clincher before Staley picked up yet another interception.
“I feel like I aged about 40 years during that game,” Beamer said.
The Gamecocks will head to Knoxville for a tilt against SEC East foe Tennessee at noon Oct. 9.