Josh Kendall

October 24, 2013

Kendall's Key Number: USC pretty darn good on fourth down

When the Tennessee game was over and the Volunteers had completed a 23-21 comeback win, Steve Spurrier still seemed uncertain if he had made the right call punting to Tennessee on the final drive.

Josh Kendall

News and views about Gamecocks football

11

When the Tennessee game was over and the Volunteers had completed a 23-21 comeback win, Steve Spurrier still seemed uncertain if he had made the right call punting to Tennessee on the final drive.

Traditional logic said he did.

Who attempts a fourth-and-two from their own 26-yard line when their opponent only needs a field goal to win the game? Not many folks. Then again, not many folks have converted fourth downs with the regularity South Carolina has this season.

In fact, only one team in the country has converted more fourth downs than the 11 the Gamecocks have made. South Carolina is 13th in the nation in fourth down attempts with 16, and 17th in success rate at 69 percent.

“I always tell myself to go for those but you look stupid if you leave the ball on the 30-yard line,” Spurrier said after the game.

South Carolina hasn’t failed much this season. In fact, a deeper look at the numbers reveals it has only missed one important fourth down conversion, albeit a big one when Mike Davis was stopped at the goal line against Georgia.

Of the other four unsuccessful attempts, one was an end-of-half Hail Mary on fourth-and-28 against UCF, two were end-of-game situations in which the Gamecocks didn’t need to convert the down and one came on a fumble by Connor Shaw after he had rushed for enough yardage for a fourth down.

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