ATHENS, Ga. — South Carolina’s defensive effort was so bad Saturday that even two of its assistant coaches got into a sideline altercation.
The Gamecocks didn’t win that one, either, at least not in the court of public opinion.
South Carolina surrendered more than 500 yards of total offense in the 41-30 loss to Georgia.
“We didn’t score every possession, and we got beat,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “Sometimes you have to score every possession, but we weren’t good enough to do that today.”
The low point off the field came early in the third quarter when linebacker coach Kirk Botkin and defensive line coach Deke Adams were spotted by television cameras arguing on the sideline. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward had to step in between them as the incident was reported by ESPN and picked up on social media.
“I didn’t see that. But that happens,” Spurrier said. “At least they cared.”
Ward said it was “heat of the moment, things happen.”
On the field, South Carolina gave up 309 yards passing and 227 yards rushing. And for the second consecutive game, the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) forced no turnovers.
“We couldn’t stop them and they made a bunch of third-down conversions,” Spurrier said.
The backbreaker came early in the fourth quarter with Georgia clinging to a 34-30 lead. The Gamecocks had forced a third-and-13 situation, but Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray rolled out to his left and unleashed a pass to Justin Scott-Wesley. South Carolina’s T.J. Gurley was out of position and couldn’t catch Scott-Wesley as he raced 85 yards to the end zone.
Both Spurrier and Ward were disappointed the Gamecocks couldn’t slow down Georgia’s rushing attack.
Tailback Todd Gurley rushed for 132 yards, and Keith Marshall added 58 more. Former Aquinas star Brendan Douglas got into the game late and rushed for 31 yards on five carries, including one gain of 17 yards.
“They ran it right down our throat,” Spurrier said. “Vince Dooley probably has a smile on his face with the way they played tonight.”
South Carolina’s All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney wound up with three tackles, including one sack. A week after being criticized for his play in the opener against North Carolina, Clowney did not appear to be as winded as much, and said the Bulldogs executed their game plan by running the ball away from him.
“Game planning, we knew we had to stop the run coming into the game and we just didn’t do it,” he said. “We didn’t come in and execute like we were supposed to.”
Georgia won the time of possession battle 35:02 to 24:58 and scored seven of the 11 times it held the ball. After stopping the Gamecocks on fourth-and-goal, the Bulldogs ran out the final 8:28.
Spurrier was left wondering if his team will be able to stop anyone.
“Those three-and-out days, I hope that they come back around to us again,” Spurrier said. “We have to be a little more creative on defense, but we will see what we can do.”