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From the Student Section: South Carolina vs. South Florida.

Gamecocks fight back, lose overtime thriller in Birmingham.

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-South Florida vs South Carolina Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

After digging a early hole, South Carolina came from 15 down at halftime to send the game into overtime tied at 39. South Florida scored on their first play and Jake Bentley was sacked on fourth down to end the game. The 46-39 defeat means Carolina finishes with a second straight losing season.

Slow Start

The Gamecocks could not have started the game much worse than they did. USF QB Quinton Flowers made quick work of the Gamecocks defense with two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter. In between the two scores was a Jake Bentley interception.

Solid Second Quarter Spoiled

After digging the 15-0 hole, Carolina got the offense going with a quick drive that ended on a 25-yard TD toss to Hayden Hurst. Shortly after, the Bulls answered as Flowers ran in his third touchdown of the half to push the lead back to 15. Carolina seemed to end the half strong with a Deebo Samuel touchdown to cut the score to 22-14. Flowers had a different idea. On fourth down with less than 20 seconds remaining, Flowers scrambled and hit D’Ernest Johnson on a 37-yard touchdown to give the Bulls a 29-14 halftime lead.

Fourth quarter comeback

After a third quarter Jake Bentley interception was returned for a touchdown the game looked out of reach at 39-21. But the defense buckled down and Bryson Allen-Williams provided a spark with an interception while the Bulls were driving to kill the game. A 15 point fourth quarter sent the game into overtime. Carolina started the extra period on defense and gave up a touchdown pass on the first play. After getting bailed out by a face mask previously, Jake Bentley was sacked on fourth down to end the game.

Turnovers Give Bulls Win

The main reason why Carolina lost this game was turnover. 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles by the offense swung the game into USF’s favor. Three of the four turnovers had points involved. A pick-six by Bentley put points on the board for the Bulls. Then both Dowdle and Turner fumbled at the one, taking points off the board. That is a minimum swing of 13 points. In a tight game with a 10-2 team, that is too much to overcome.

The Verdict

Carolina’s season comes to an end at 6-7 in Will Muschamp’s first season. Many Gamecocks played their last game today. The seniors on this team went through a tough time last season, and no matter how ugly the scoreboard was in the 12th game, the leave the program in better shape than it was a year ago. The Gamecocks begin next season on September 2, in Charlotte, North Carolina against the NC State Wolfpack.