Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp listens to a question from the media on Tuesday. It was the first time he addressed the media since South Carolina’s loss to Kentucky this past Saturday.
South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel's multi-story picture greets fans and foes alike outside of Williams-Brice stadium. Gamecocks will see him as a welcome while Aggie fans will enter the stadium for only the second time since Texas A&M joined the SEC.
By Brandon Gann
The struggles of the South Carolina offense are well documented, but it is the defense that has kept them in the game until the last whistle.
The Gamecocks have been resilient all season, playing with a chance to win in every game. However, the team suffered their second loss with Kentucky prevailing 17-10 on Saturday.
This marks the third straight year the Wildcats have come away with the win.
Much of the criticism throughout the season has been directed towards the lack of offensive consistency. The defense has kept the team close, giving their teammates a chance to win every game this season.
The goal for the defense is to keep the opposing team from scoring for more than 16 points.
“We look at the cut-off for the top defenses in college football. If you think in terms of holding teams to a couple field goals in the red zone, maybe giving up one touchdown, that’s probably 13 points,” head coach Will Muschamp said.
The Gamecocks are a top 25 scoring defense, allowing on average 17 points per game. Only once has the defense allowed more than 20 points, and it came in a loss to Mississippi State as the Bulldogs finished with 27 points.
With the exception of Mississippi State, every game has been decided by seven points or less, also known as a possession.
However, keeping teams below a particular score is not the ultimate goal.
“The bottom line, though, is to win the game. That’s the number one goal,” Muschamp said.
On the other side of the ball, it’s a different story.
In South Carolina’s four games, they have scored 13 and 20 points in wins, and 14 and 10 points in defeat.
The poor performances leave the team at the bottom of the offensive rankings. Out of 128 teams at the sport’s highest level, the football bowl subdivision, South Carolina’s offensive averages are placed 101st in passing with 192 yards a game. The team is 124th in rushing with close to 91 yards a game and next to last in scoring points with only 14 points a game.
Now the Gamecocks play their second home game of the season against their first-ranked opponent. Ninth-ranked Texas A&M comes to town after big wins over UCLA and Arkansas.
The Aggies have many play makers that present a tough challenge, a challenge coach Muschamp is ready to take on.
“Really complete football team,” he said. “Kevin [Sumlin] has done a real great job recruiting.”
This also is the start of a five-game home stretch in which South Carolina does not have a road game until mid-November when they travel to Gainesville, Florida to play the University of Florida.
“Anytime we play at home, it’s a difference. I felt that against East Carolina,” Muschamp said, who said he is grateful to be back in front of friendly fans.
The Texas A&M game will kick off at 4 p.m. this Saturday and can be seen on the SEC Network.