The South Carolina Gamecocks did the seemingly impossible on Saturday afternoon, taking down the No. 15 Auburn Tigers 30-22 in Columbia to earn their second win of the season and first over the Plainsmen since joining the SEC.
Auburn struck first after an empty Gamecocks possession, getting on the board with a 35-yard field goal about halfway through the first quarter.
South Carolina looked to be in business on its next drive when Kevin Harris broke free on third down for a 78-yard score, but a holding call negated it, and USC had to punt. With favorable field position, Auburn quickly reached the red zone, cashing in with an 11-yard touchdown reception by Eli Stove. After a failed two-point conversion, the Tigers grabbed a 9-0 lead.
South Carolina finally strung some good plays together, with Jaycee Horn nabbing the first interception if his career deep in Auburn territory, which set up a 3-yard Harris touchdown to pull the Gamecocks within 9-7.
Unfortunately, the Tigers went right back to work, regaining a wider advantage with a Tank Bigsby rushing touchdown that made it 16-7. Thankfully, another promising Auburn drive was snuffed out with a fortuitous Jaylin Dickerson interception.
The Gamecocks put together their best drive of the game, leaning on Deshaun Fenwick carries and a couple big catches from Shi Smith and Josh Vann to set up a Collin Hill sneak for a touchdown, which made it 16-14 at the half.
Auburn opened the second-half scoring with another field goal after more incredible play from Horn, who broke up a crucial third down pass in the red zone. The Gamecocks capitalized, using strong running from Harris and Fenwick to set up a clutch touchdown grab by Smith that made it 20-19 after a failed two-point conversion.
After an Auburn punt, South Carolina looked to be knocking on the door again, but the Tigers secured an interception off a deflection that was intended for Dakereon Joyner. However, Horn got it right back for the Gamecocks, picking off Bo Nix on third down to set up an 8-yard Harris touchdown run that put USC up 27-19 to close the third quarter.
After both offenses stalled and traded punts to begin the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks padded their lead with a 39-yard Parker White field goal to go ahead 30-19. However, the South Carolina defense relaxed and allowed the Tigers three chunk plays to get quickly into Gamecock territory. Fortunately, USC got the stop it needed, and held Auburn to a field goal that made it 30-22.
As it happened, that closed the scoring after much stressing and gnashing of teeth that saw Auburn scrambling on a fourth down deep in Gamecock territory to end the game.
South Carolina improves to 2-2 and will face LSU next weekend at 4 p.m.