There is no way to describe what happened at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. Even for a program that used to invent ways to lose ballgames, that was a stunner.
Somehow, USC’s defense gave up an 85-yard touchdown drive to tie the score in less than 83 seconds, when Tennessee had no timeouts. Even for a unit that has stunk up every field it’s touched this season, that was incredible.
Somehow, USC forgot how to play offense when its defense is being gashed. Even when it seemed to remember – after nearly being beaten by it again – by handing the ball to Brandon Wilds and watching him run for a 70-yard touchdown, it forgot. After running the ball while ahead seven points, USC faced a third-and-4. The play call was Dylan Thompson rolling out. He was dropped, much like he was when he tried to pass on the first two plays of USC’s only overtime possession.
The venom and fruitlessness are mounting. Steve Spurrier spoke for less than a minute afterward and didn’t take questions, saying he needed to get out of here for a while. It’s one thing to lose – it’s another to give away three games where the Gamecocks had everything in their corner.
Changes are coming. I can’t say when, who or how many, but they’re going to have to. A season that began with aspirations of an SEC title has dissolved into what so many former seasons did – trying to make a bowl game.
That’s still on the table, by the way.
It’s far behind trying to keep a fracturing team together.