South Carolina is 58th in the nation in turnover margin, which doesn’t sound great. In fact, it’s worse.
The Gamecocks have gained one turnover, a fumbled punt by North Carolina, and given one away, a fumble by Connor Shaw, but the South Carolina coaching staff hardly counts that fumble their team scooped up against Tar Heels.
“The thing that was more disappointing than all the yards and everything is we played two football games, and we have zero turnovers,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said after the Georgia game. “If you don’t make teams turn the ball over, it’s going to be a long day all the time.”
When Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier mentioned upon hiring Ward that the two men had the same defensive philosophies, their shared belief in the importance of turnovers was one of the core values in those philosophies. In Ward’s first year as defensive coordinator (2012), the Gamecocks gained 24 turnovers, the 44th-highest total in the nation.
“Got to get a turnover,” Spurrier said after the Georgia game.
UCLA, SMU, Pitt, Texas-San Antonio and Kent State are the only teams in the nation who haven’t gained a turnover this year. Seventy-nine teams have gained at least two and 20 have gained five or more.
How important are turnovers? Florida was 11-2 last year thanks in large part to a plus-15 turnover margin for the season. This year, the Gators are 120th in the NCAA in turnover margin at minus-2, and have a record of 1-1.