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Nov. 21, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina football team dropped a 23-22 decision to The Citadel Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Perry Orth and tight end Jerell Adams had career days offensively for the Gamecocks (3-8), but the Bulldogs (8-3) racked up 350 rushing yards to earn the win.

It would be the Bulldogs who would strike first, using their triple-option offense to break a big touchdown run on the first drive. A-back Cam Jackson took a pitch to the short side right and went 59 yards to the endzone for a 7-0 advantage just 150 seconds into the game.

The Gamecocks aired it out on their next drive, with Orth hitting Pharoh Cooper for 40 yards and Adams for 12 on successive attempts to drive into the red zone, but a key penalty on what would have been another first down stalled out the offense and led to a 36-yard field goal for Elliott Fry.

The Citadel would answer with a different style of drive to take a two-score lead late in the quarter. The visitors would run 13 times out of the option and went 75 yards, Tyler Renew capped it with a seven-yard dive up the middle for a 14-3 game.

Needing a response, the Gamecocks would use a pair of fourth-down conversions to drive in for another field goal in their first drive of the second quarter. Orth would hit Deebo Samuel on a fourth-and-three from Carolina’s own 40, then he would keep it on a sneak on fourth-and-one at The Citadel 42. A 30-yard completion to Adams set the team up inside the ten, but the drive would stall out again and led to a 25-yard field goal from Fry.

The Citadel’s first punt of the day would help the Gamecocks edge closer on the scoreboard. Another big completion to Adams – this time a 27-yard pickup – set the team up on the fringe of the redzone. A pair of runs would be stuffed and Fry would soon find himself converting his third field goal of the game, this time a 40-yarder in a 14-9 game. The score would carry into the halftime break.

The Carolina defense stonewalled The Citadel for the fourth-straight drive as the second half got under way, giving the offense a chance to take another bite out of the deficit. As it had been all day, the drive was given a shot in the arm by a big pass play, this time it was Orth to Cooper over the middle on a deep post for a 47-yard gain. Three runs later, Brandon Wilds punched it in to give the Garnet and Black a 16-14 lead with six minutes to go in the third.

A 48-yard field goal for the Bulldogs would briefly put them ahead, 17-16, but the air raid continued from Orth and his receiving corps. He would loft a 41-yard touchdown pass to Cooper, giving him his first career 300-yard game. The two-point conversion failed, giving Carolina a 22-17 lead with nine minutes to play.

The visitors would answer back, going back to the home-run play. Renew burst through the middle for 56 yards on a second-down run to push it back to a 23-22 lead for The Citadel. In Carolina’s attempt to answer, it would run out of luck on its fourth down conversions, stonewalled on a fourth-and-one at The Citadel 46 to give the Bulldogs the ball back with just four minutes to play.

Carolina’s defense would hold, but burned its final two timeouts and was left with just 1:26 by the time the offense got the ball back. The drive would start at Carolina’s own three-yard line.

Three passes would get the team just three yards, but on fourth-and-seven Cooper caught a seam pass and took it in for the apparent score, but it was determined that not all 11 Gamecocks were set in formation when the ball was snapped. The play was waved off, and on the next ensuing play the team would be stopped short of a first down.

Game Changer

Tyler Renew’s 56-yard touchdown run with six minutes to play, giving The Citadel a 23-22 lead. The Gamecocks opted to go for two after Cooper’s 41-yard touchdown in the drive before.

Key Stat

The Bulldogs finished with 350 yards rushing on 61 attempts for the game, good for an average of 5.7 yards. It was the second-most yards allowed on the ground for Carolina this season, behind LSU’s 396 on Oct. 10.


  • Today’s loss snapped a 22-game home winning streak over non-conference opponents. Carolina is 24-6 in its last 30 home games.
  • Pharoh Cooper tied a career high with 11 receptions, and had a season-high 191 yards.
  • Between Cooper and Adams, the Gamecocks had two receivers reach 100 yards in the same game for the first time since Jan. 1, 2014. It was then that Bruce Ellington (140) and Shaq Roland (111) torched Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.
  • On defense, Gerald Dixon finished with a career-high 13 tackles, 1.5 went for a loss.
  • Placekicker Elliott Fry jumped Ryan Succop for second place on the all-time scoring list and in field goals made after hitting all three attempts Saturday. His 19 for the season now ranks third in program history.


Interim Head Coach Shawn Elliott

“First off, Mark Houston and The Citadel Bulldogs are a heck of a team. They outcoached us, they outplayed us and they outclassed us, everything from the penalties, to the rushing to the playing. They played with great effort and great hearts. I told him (Mike Houston) to go get in the locker room and celebrate with your football team because they certainly deserved everything you did today, and they did it extremely well. I’m certainly disappointed in our effort all the way around, from our penalties to the offense to the defense to the entire game. It was a total disappointment. It is my responsibility to have our football team ready to play. I just spoke with our football team really briefly after that game and there were a lot of disappointed faces out there. But, when we started this contest in the pregame you have to look at a player and team and see if they’re ready to play. I don’t know if it was all there in the beginning. We tried to make plays and come back and gain momentum. We got a fourth down stop there, and then we gave up a long touchdown run with the full back. Then of course you saw how the game ended with an illegal procedure play; not having all 11 players set on the potential touchdown throw to Pharoh Cooper. It was a tough day. It was a tough day on all of us, and it will be a tough night. We have to do something because we have a heck of a Clemson team coming in here ready to play.”

Up Next

South Carolina will wrap up the 2015 season when the annual Palmetto Bowl between the Gamecocks and Tigers gets renewed on Saturday, November 28, at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks had their school-record five-game winning streak snapped last season in Clemson. The Tigers lead the all-time series 66-42-4 including a 49-32-3 advantage when playing in Columbia in a series that dates back to 1896.