Michael Scarnecchia performs well in first start for South Carolina football
Parker White found himself doing the smaller things.
The South Carolina football team’s kicker had already hit one big fourth-quarter kick to put his team ahead of Missouri before the lightning delay hit. He didn’t know his Tiger counterpart would hit from 57, and he’d be called on again after a dramatic drive.
So he just waited and filled the time.
“I took my cleats,” White said. “Because they were soaking wet, and hung them up on the dryers. I got a new pair of socks because mine were about 10 pounds each. And then I kind of just sat there, stretched a little bit.
“I kind of just hung out.”
Those 10-pound socks would’ve been a bit of a hindrance as he was, much like early last year against Louisiana Tech, called upon to put the final touch on a whacky, back-and-fourth game where South Carolina again pulled one out of the fire.
He obliged with the 33-yard kick with two seconds to go.
“I had all the confidence in the world in him,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. “We’ve challenged him constantly.”
After a rocky first starting season last fall, White is 8 of 9 this season, and hit a pair from 40-plus yards on Saturday.
A season ago, he dove into the student section to celebrate. He almost did it again.
“I saw my girlfriend down there, first row,” White said. “And I almost ran. But all my teammates were there, and Saturdays are for the boys, I guess.”
Feeling the appreciation
South Carolina’s crowd ran the full gamut on Saturday.
The initial crowd probably wasn’t near the announced 73,393. In the heat, it emptied as Missouri seemed to be taking control going into halftime. It emptied a little more after the 1-hour, 16-minute lightning delay.
But those who stayed, they impressed the folks on the field.
“It was certainly as loud as it could be in the fourth quarter, and we appreciate them,” Muschamp said.
Linebacker Sherrod Greene said the fans kept pushing USC after a big play. Missouri offensive lineman Paul Adams said, ‘It was very impressive. I love this place.”
South Carolina could well have been finished but for one of Damar Crockett’s feet.
The Tigers back broke a 70-yard score that would’ve extended a Tigers lead to 30-21. Instead he was ruled out at South Carolina’s 11-yard line. Multiple penalties helped USC drive Missouri back, and by third down, the Tigers were outside of field goal range with 35 yards to convert.
A bad punt set the Gamecocks up, and they took a lead the next possession.
“We were able to keep them in the green (high red zone),” Muschamp said. “And that’s what we always talk in terms of, to give us another at-bat to get a stop. And that was a huge, huge possession in the game.”
▪ Team captains were Danny Fennell, Deebo Samuel, Kiel Pollard, Donell Stanley.
▪ Muschamp said Jake Bentley could have played, but the staff was worried about his ability to protect himself.
▪ South Carolina now has three wins in a row against the Tigers.
▪ Quarterback Michael Scarnecchia, tight end Kiel Pollard and wide receiver Josh Vann made their first starts for USC, while tight end Kyle Markway made his first start since 2015.
▪ Alex Woznik handled kickoffs, getting four touchbacks on eight kicks