Human nature would have been to get frustrated.
South Carolina’s defense wasn’t flawless Saturday against Louisiana Tech by any stretch, but that side of the ball bowed up when it counted. Three points, three points, turnover, missed field goal.
That’s why it was still a game despite the Gamecocks offense shooting itself in the foot so often. It didn’t get on the scoreboard for nearly the first 49 minutes.
Those groups share a sideline, and it would be natural to get a little mad those chances the offense got weren’t being converted. But according to the players, that kind of tension wasn’t there, and it wasn’t there for a reason.
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“We’ve got our offense’s back,” defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth said. “We just kept strong for each other, played for each other as a team, as a family.
“That’s what we are.”
It was not the most pleasant week around South Carolina’s program. Players and coaches admitted as much.
The residue of an ugly loss to Kentucky lingered. People outside the program questioned everything, and the team felt it.
Kicker Parker White said he heard the noise. Coaches are often loathe to talk about that, but in the moments after a win, Will Muschamp let slip a few thoughts.
“Through a week of a lot of negativity, I’m very proud of how they handled coming back under very adverse circumstances,” Muschamp said.
Much of the adversity was self-made, as the coach called the performance sloppy. It had the feel of lingering uneasiness, when a 13-point deficit felt like 20-plus as time slipped away.
But in a spot where a lot of teams break or pack it in, USC did not. The defense kept doing enough until the offense arrived, and then the offense delivered some almost miraculous plays to save the defense.
Muschamp praised culture and approach, character and effort, and in the end, the whole team got what it had to have.
“We needed the result of a win,” Muschamp said. “To be coach off that tomorrow as opposed to other (outcome).”