ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
South Carolina photo / South Carolina fourth-year football coach Will Muschamp led his Gamecocks to a double-overtime win at Georgia last month, but they are just 4-6 entering their final two games against Texas A&M and Clemson.

Dexy's Midnight Runners, Kajagoogoo and Wall of Voodoo were among the most memorable one-hit musical acts of the MTV era.

The 2019 South Carolina Gamecocks are on their way to becoming one of the more notable one-hit wonders in Southeastern Conference football history.

On Oct. 12, South Carolina became the first unranked team ever to knock off a top-five Georgia squad inside Sanford Stadium, pulling out a 20-17 upset in double overtime that evened the Gamecocks at 3-3 at the midway mark of the regular season. But they have won just one time since, and their 20-15 home loss to Appalachian State last weekend left them 4-6 with games remaining at Texas A&M and at home against rival Clemson.

"We're frustrated," Gamecocks senior center Donell Stanley said Saturday in a news conference. "We've just got to find the answers. We don't point fingers. We have to accept what's happened and move on."

South Carolina, as former coach Steve Spurrier often pointed out, is not a program that has hung many banners. The 1969 Gamecocks claimed their only Atlantic Coast Conference championship before leaving that league two years later, and the 2010 Gamecocks won their lone SEC East crown before getting humbled by Auburn 56-17 in Atlanta.

Yet the Gamecocks have won at least six games in 14 of their last 15 seasons, including three straight 11-2 records under Spurrier from 2011 to 2013. The program experienced a 3-9 dip in 2015, when Spurrier abruptly resigned after a 2-4 start, but Will Muschamp provided some stability with a 22-17 mark his first three seasons that included an Outback Bowl victory over Michigan following the 2017 season.

Two years after a 9-4 finish, however, the Gamecocks could be staring at 4-8, which has Muschamp fielding questions about his standing with South Carolina's brass.

"This is a results business at the end of the day, and we haven't won enough games, so that's the bottom line," Muschamp said Tuesday in his weekly news conference. "The main progress that needs to be made is winning football games, and we haven't made that progress. Over a three-year period, this staff has won more games than any staff has in school history, so we actually have done a couple good things around here.

some text
AP Photo/Wade Payne / South Carolina coach Will Muschamp congratulates running back Tavien Feaster after his first-half touchdown at Tennessee, but the Gamecocks lost that game and are 4-6 this season.

"We've had a very inconsistent year, and I'll continue to evaluate that and make the decision we need to make moving forward."

This is South Carolina's first season since the unveiling of the $50 million Long Family Football Operations Center, a 110,000-square foot-complex that contains a barbershop, a game room, a movie theater and the Darius Rucker recording studio.

Any momentum from the Long Center opening was expected to be challenged by a schedule containing Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M, and this season's troubles began right away. South Carolina was favored in its opener in Charlotte against North Carolina, but the Gamecocks blew a 20-9 lead entering the fourth quarter in a 24-20 loss and lost their starting quarterback, Jake Bentley, to a season-ending foot injury on the final play.

Last month's shocking of Georgia became all the more remarkable when true freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski, Bentley's top backup, sustained a knee injury in the third quarter and was replaced by former receiver Dakereon Joyner. The Gamecocks have not been able to create much offensive success since, with running backs Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster battling injuries and with five scholarship receivers unable to play last weekend with various ailments as well.

Against the Mountaineers, the Gamecocks rushed 27 times for 21 yards.

"We need more bodies," senior receiver Bryan Edwards said. "I know it's late in the year and everybody is dealing with something, but the more bodies you have, the more fresh everybody can be and the faster we can play."

Said Muschamp: "We're getting no push. They outnumbered us in the box, and we were inefficient throwing the football when we needed to early in the game."

The rash of injuries for Muschamp is similar to his 2013 Florida team that began that year ranked No. 10 but went 4-7 after having 17 players suffer season-ending injuries, including quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy, running back Matt Jones, receiver Andre Debose, offensive tackle Chaz Green and defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

Muschamp got a fourth season in Gainesville in 2014 before losing his job, and a fifth year in Columbia likely will be accompanied by some staff changes. His Gamecocks always seem to be competitive, even in defeat, and continuing that would bode well during these last two games.

"Right now, we just need to be more productive," Muschamp said. "We're inconsistent from a personnel standpoint in terms of what we need to do. It's a little bit unfair right now, and we're struggling in a lot of ways."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT