GA News: OnlineAthens - South Carolina struggles with offense, turnovers

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From OnlineAthens.com
October 9th, 2016 06:36 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. | South Carolina’s inability to execute on offense was illustrated by one play in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Trailing Georgia by 14, and facing fourth and 2 at the Bulldogs’ 31, South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth threw a screen pass that lost two yards.
When the Gamecocks needed a big play, they couldn’t turn to a ground game that was nonexistent as four South Carolina rushers could muster only 30 yards on 26 carries.
And with the rushing game not working, South Carolina also stopped itself with three turnovers and crucial penalties.
It was that kind of effort for South Carolina (2-4, 1-4 Southeastern Conference), which now has the worst points per game average of any Football Bowl Subdivision team. The 28-14 loss did nothing to improve the 14 points per game average.
“We had nothing in the run game, and felt we had to throw the ball,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said. “Then we had a turnover or penalty. It was very frustrating.”
In South Carolina’s game of musical quarterbacks, the former walk-on Orth started and played the entire game. He was 26 of 36 for 288 yards, and said after the game the coaching staff had planned to use freshman Brandon McIlwain, who is more of a running threat, in some capacity.
“They had some different things they were going to use Brandon in and they just never got to,” Orth said. “They told me I was going to start and go from there.”
Muschamp deflected a question about whether there were plans to use freshman quarterback Jake Bentley when the Gamecocks return to action Oct. 22.
“We need to evaluate where we are and what gives us the best opportunity to be successful,” Muschamp said. “That’s at all positions.”
After a dismal first half that produced zero points, three first downs and 108 total yards, South Carolina looked like it might be in for its first shutout since a 2006 loss to Georgia. Punter Sean Kelly was South Carolina’s best weapon; he pinned Georgia deep with three punts that averaged 52 yards.
The Gamecocks put to rest any notion of being kept off the Williams-Brice Stadium scoreboard with an impressive 90-yard drive after forcing a Georgia turnover in the third quarter.
Deebo Samuel, healthy after missing a couple of games, did the honors on a 9-yard run.
After Georgia pulled ahead 21-7, South Carolina had a promising drive end when the Bulldogs stopped them cold on fourth and short.
South Carolina added a 74-yard touchdown drive late in the game, but that was the extent of highlights on offense.
With Georgia piling up more than 300 yards on the ground, South Carolina’s inability to run the ball frustrated Muschamp. He relied on a pair of freshmen, Rico Dowdle and A.J. Turner, to carry the load Sunday, but they weren’t able to produce much.
“That’s what we need to go back and look at,” Muschamp said when asked about getting creative on offense. “Right now, where we are at the quarterback position, Perry is further ahead on what we can do passing. When you can’t run you’ve got to throw. It’s kind of where we are right now.”


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