Jags Fall to South Carolina 37-12

November 24, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football 
Defensive coordinator Travis Pearson works works with the defense between series on the sidelines in Columbia, SC.

Defensive coordinator Travis Pearson works works with the defense between series on the sidelines in Columbia, SC.

South Alabama and South Carolina combined for 10 turnovers, five each, but the Gamecocks were too much for the Jaguars as they won 37-12 in Columbia, SC.

It was a tale of two halves. In the first half the Jaguars dominated the time of possession with a 20:45 to 9:15 edge, but trailed 17-9 on the scoreboard despite the Jaguars throwing three interceptions in the second quarter.

But it was in the red zone where the Jaguars struggled the most. They reached the two yard line twice early in the game but each time had to settle for field goals. Three of the four field goals by the Jaguars were inside 30 yards and the fourth was from 31 yards out.

The momentum shifted in the second quarter when Hunter Vaughn floated a pass out to the left flat and Gamecock Brison Williams picked it off and returned 21 yards for a touchdown. At that point USC was up 17-6 with 8:58 left in the second quarter. From that point forward, the Jaguar offense seemed to go from confident to desperate.

Up to that point, the Jaguars had put together two drives of 14 plays each and consuming over six minutes per drive, though each ended with field goals rather than touchdowns.

The pick six began a string of three consecutive possessions where the Jaguars possessions would end with interceptions.

Brandon Bridge came in late in the first half to relieve Vaughn and only attempted one pass, but drove the Jaguars down to the 2 yard line and settled for a field goal with two seconds left in the half. But Vaughn would return to the game in the fourth quarter.

At halftime the Jaguars had out gained the Gamecocks 207-193 and had run almost double the offensive plays than the Gamecocks (45-24).

But second half was all Gamecocks as they outscored the Jaguars 20-3.

Kendall Houston led the Jaguars on the ground with 68 yards on 16 attempts. Terrance Timmons added 63 yards on 17 carries.

Shavarez Smith led the Jaguars receiving corps with five catches for 82 yards. Jereme Jones also caught five for 41 yards, Wes Saxton caught two for 22 yards and five other Jaguars caught a pass in the game.

Hunter Vaughn finished the game with 151 passing yards while going 15-of-23 but he also had four interceptions. Bridge went 2-of-11 for 19 yards in his first play in three games.

South Carolina running back Brandon Wilds was held to 77 yards on 16 carries and David Williams was held to 65 yards on 12 carries.

Receivers Pharoh Cooper and Nick Jones both caught three passes each with the former gaining 95 yards while the latter gained 53 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Dylan Thompson went 10-of-17 for 237 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

South Carolina outgained the Jaguars 454 to 289 for the game. With clear advantages in both rushing 210-119 and passing 244-170 in the game.

Punter Brandon McKee also set a Jaguar record in the game with a 76 yard punt on his first attempt. Each of his four kicks were downed inside the Gamecock 20 with an average of 48.8 yards per kick.

“One thing about our kids is they know how to fight,” explained South Alabama head coach Joey Jones. “They know the next play is the only thing they can control. We preach that to them, and they came out and made some big plays; that’s just a testament to our team. We were out-manned out there, and we were toe-to-toe with them for a while but we just couldn’t finish.

“They kind of wear on you with their size, and they have good players. My hat’s off to them because they played a good ballgame.”

“I thought we were playing good football in the first half,” Jones stated. “We moved the ball offensively against an SEC defense. We converted on third down. We forced a couple of turnovers and did some good things, but we turned the ball over multiple times in the first half and we didn’t get it done in the red zone. When you don’t get those things done against a team like that, then they start to wear on you.

“Our guys fought, and I am real proud of the way we came and played,” Jones added. “Would I have liked to make a few more plays? Yes, but we didn’t and they deserve the victory. They outplayed us.”

“It was a big win for us; it really was,” South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said after the game. “The South Alabama team is a pretty good team. With all the turnovers we had, it gave them a chance and fortunately our defense really came to play the second half. It was a really good win for the Gamecocks.

“I knew it wouldn’t be easy because this is a pretty good team,” Spurrier continued. “You’re not just going to run it down their throat and get out with an easy win. All those turnovers – we’ve been so good all year protecting the ball and taking care of it, but it hit us this game. Fortunately the defense played so well that it wasn’t a factor.”

South Alabama (6-5) will host Navy for a 2pm game on Friday, November 28 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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