While it can’t be overlooked that the Gamecocks gave up 31 points to a two-win FCS team, the most important stat - points scored - went in their favor. South Carolina shook off a pesky Western Carolina team to win 44-31 on Senior Day, improving their record to 6-5 and securing a bowl appearance in Will Muschamp’s first season as head coach.
The Gamecocks allowed 231 yards on the ground to a team that only averaged 144.3 yards rushing per game coming in. Their kick coverage game was non-existent, allowing Detrez Newsome several great returns, including one for a touchdown. During his halftime radio interview, Muschamp was less than complimentary of his defense.
But Carolina got the win anyway. And it was thanks in part to a workhorse-like performance by Rico Dowdle, who ran for 226 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, part of a team-total 422 yards rushing. (The last Carolina player to rush for over 200 yards? A guy named Marcus Lattimore.) Deebo Samuel had a 100-yard touchdown return to add to the scoring, the first of the season, while adding two more on sweep plays on the ground.
Not much went wrong offensively for the Gamecocks, and despite today’s defensive struggles, they’ll take it as they prepare for Clemson next week and a bowl game after that. Carolina fans will have December football to look forward to, and hopefully for them, it’s a sign of better things to come.
Game Thread Roll Call