South Carolina’s home opener had the makings of a big night for everyone involved. A 2-0 team was coming home to a stadium that added bells and whistles and was full to a capacity not seen since September of 2014.
And Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp felt the burden for the ugly 23-13 loss that marred Saturday night.
“Extremely disappointed,” Muschamp said. “I hate for our fans. They were certainly excited to be there and the wonderful environment that they created. We certainly didn’t follow up.”
Things started with a bang: a 68-yard Jake Bentley-to-Deebo Samuel touchdown pass and a pair of turnovers forced. But USC couldn’t cash in, and the night ended with short-yardage failures, missed field goals and an offense that showed just enough to inspire hope but couldn’t deliver.
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Muschamp said he knew those early chances would come to bite his team, and the energy of a raucous stadium dissipated so much, the hosts received a loud sarcastic cheer when they converted an extra point (USC missed the first one).
The school debuted a number of changes to the gameday atmosphere. That included an in-stadium DJ, pyrotechnics for the team’s entrance, more fireworks and the high-quality videos of Justin King and his team.
“As good a night as our fans and our administration had set up for us, to go out and play like that, it’s my responsibility,” Muschamp said.