Carolina Comeback Falls Short Against Missouri
Tom Santaniello | @tom_santaniello
South Carolina couldn't complete the comeback against Missouri and lost 17-10. Credits: Sideline Carolina
A new coach and new quarterback yielded the closest game South Carolina football has had in their last four tries, but it was not enough for the team to come out victorious Saturday night.
Interim head coach Mike Bobo handed the offense over to freshman Luke Doty to start the third quarter after the team gained only 68 yards of offense in the first half. The move gave the team a much-needed jolt of energy as Doty responded with 189 yards of total offense and led the team to their only two scoring drives.
Deshaun Fenwick scored from one yard out with just under five minutes remaining. The defense got the offense the stop they needed, but Doty was intercepted by Mizzou’s linebacker Devin Nicholson, which sealed the Tiger victory.
“That’s a tough situation for any young man to go into,” Bobo said. “[Doty] responded. He didn’t blink. He played with confidence.”
Missouri found their offense whenever they had a short field to work with. All three scoring drives for the Tigers came in the first half and started near midfield, with the longest being 58 yards.
The short fields were a result of a stagnant South Carolina offense, which struggled for most of the first two quarters after losing senior wide receiver Shi Smith to an injury on the first drive. Bobo said it is too early to know what the prognosis is.
The Tigers’ first score came on a 20-yard pass from Connor Bazelak to Tauskie Dove in the first quarter. Larry Roundtree III had a rushing touchdown in the second quarter, and Harrison Mevis knocked in a 20-yard field goal as the half ended to give Mizzou all the offense they would need to win.
The defense did their part in the second half, though. The unit held the Tigers scoreless and gave up less than 100 yards, which gave the offense the opportunities they needed to get back in the game.
“Towards the second half, we just started letting go and playing ball,” South Carolina linebacker Ernest Jones said. “All the other stuff didn’t matter. We just started playing more focused and disciplined football.”
The quarterback change clearly shifted the game’s momentum. Bobo would not say whether Doty would get the start next week against Georgia. Despite tonight’s strong performance, the freshman does not think it entitled him to anything moving forward.
“I don’t think I’ve earned anything,” Doty said. “It’s about getting back to work next week and working my tail off.”
The loss gives their Gamecocks their fourth straight loss. They sit as 2-6 on the year as they head into next week’s game against the 13th-ranked Bulldogs.