It's been a tough year for the South Carolina Gamecocks, but today's loss came in one of the worst ways imaginable. Jerell Adams fumbled a ball deep in Tennessee territory with just over 30 seconds left, and the Tennessee Volunteers held on to defeat the Gamecocks, 27-24, at Neyland Stadium.
The Gamecocks found themselves in a hole early on. Just three minutes in, Tennessee went up 7-0 on some steady running by both Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. They'd strike again with 7:56 left as Joshua Dobbs hit Von Pearson with a 37-yard pass to make it 14-0. But despite recovering a fumble on the Vols' next drive, the Gamecocks couldn't take advantage as Elliott Fry missed a 46-yarder with 3:56 remaining in the frame - but finally scored late in the half as Fry tacked on a 43-yard field goal to make it 17-3.
Then the South Carolina defense stepped it up. They opened the half with an interception and later forced a Tennessee punt before a solid 11-play, 80-yard Perry Orth drive ended with a 10 yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Watson to make it 17-10. Next Tennessee drive: a fumble, and four plays later, Jerell Adams hauled in a seven yard pass to tie it up. Both sides traded touchdowns before the third quarter expired (including a five-yard grab by Pharoh Cooper with :48 left), but a short field goal by Aaron Medley with 9:14 remaining in regulation made it 27-24.
Just like last week, this came down to a final possession by South Carolina - but the ending in this one was much, much more bitter. With 32 seconds remaining, Orth hit Adams well inside Fry territory, but Adams coughed it up and Tennessee recovered to put an end to the comeback.
South Carolina returns home to take on Florida next Saturday at noon at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gators slipped past Vanderbilt, 9-7, earlier today to clinch the SEC East title.