Josh Kendall

Kendall's Key Number: Third-down woes linger


South Carolina averaged 34.5 points per game in its first six games. That has dropped to 25.3 in its last four.

Why? Third downs. The Gamecocks are no longer converting them with enough regularity. South Carolina converted 53 percent of its third downs (45 of 85) through the first six games of the season. That percentage has plunged to 25.8 percent (15 of 58) in the last four games.

There’s no one explanation for the drop-off, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier says.

“It is what it is,” Spurrier said. “Sometimes you make a whole bunch of them. Our biggest problem was probably that Arkansas game when we had what, (9-of-16 on third down) and 5-for-5 on fourths. We thought we were going to do this in every game, but it doesn’t happen like that every game.”

The Gamecocks rank seventh in the SEC in third down conversions for the season, having converted 42 percent overall. The rate at which they have converted third downs the last four games would rank 123rd in the country based on a full season.