South Carolina’s football team took a blowout loss to Clemson in 2016, and quarterback Jake Bentley took some of the worst of it. The freshman was sacked twice and missed the second half.
But Bentley seemed defiant about how the 56-7 final score reflected the gap between the teams.
“We just didn’t play well that week,” Bentley said in an interview with FOX Carolina. “We felt we got outworked. So our big thing is never again we will be outworked. Never again will be out-competed in a game like that. It all stems from that game. Because at the end of the game, everyone knew that they weren’t that much better than us or better than us at all. It really just lit a fire in everybody. Since that week, everyone has worked harder and wanted it more.”
Bentley bounced back from that loss, in which he had 41 yards on 17 passes with an interception, to throw for 390 yards in a bowl loss.
Bobby Bentley, Jake’s father and USC’s running backs coach, wasn’t as direct as his son, but spoke about closing that gap and the “never again” mindset.
“Anybody that was at the game can see there’s a gap,” Bobby Bentley said. “There’s a big gap in talent and a big gap with facilities. We’ve got to close the gap, and we’re doing it. We’ve got the new facility going on, we’ve got recruiting improvements, we’ve got guys like Jake who are picking South Carolina over Alabama, picking South Carolina over LSU, picking South Carolina over Georgia. That’s what we’ve gotta do. The more and more players we get that are on that level, we’ll close the gap.”