South Carolina football report card: No surprise offense gets F, but coaching gets a D

Emily Adams
Greenville News

COLUMBIA — South Carolina football's 48-7 loss to No. 2 Georgia on Saturday was one of the biggest failures in program history.

It was the worst loss for the Gamecocks (1-2, 0-2 SEC) in their 128-year series with the Bulldogs (3-0,1-0). The previous worst margin of defeat was 40 points.

Here's how we graded the performance at Williams-Brice Stadium:

Offense: F

Unless South Carolina gets the turnovers under control, this season could quickly become a disaster. Spencer Rattler threw two interceptions, both at critical moments: one the second drive of the game and one the second drive after halftime. Both were directly to covered receivers.

The Georgia defense is among the best in the country, so it wasn't a surprise to see the offense struggle, but it was disappointing how non-competitive it looked. The Gamecocks couldn't even get into field goal range with a kicker that completed two over 50 yards in Week 1. There were also plenty of wasted opportunities: The offense went three-and-out after a shanked punt put it in excellent field position, and nothing came of a well-executed fake punt either.

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Defense: D

The defense did what they could, but they were outmatched at every position. The Gamecocks were missing five defensive starters due to injuries, and nickelback Cam Smith's backup David Spaulding was also out.

The freshman-laden secondary held its own against the Bulldogs' passing game, but sophomore tight end Brock Bowers was a problem throughout the game, finishing with 121 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The Gamecocks again struggled to contain the run, allowing 208 yards.

Special teams: A

Special teams coordinator Pete Lembo loves a trick play, and it worked again against the Bulldogs. Punter Kai Kroeger threw a pass on the play in the first quarter for a first down, and he's now 3-of-3 passing in his career. Kroeger also hit all five of his punts inside the 20-yard line and logged a longest punt of 54 yards.

Other than that, the unit didn't get to show much. Kicker Mitch Jeter saw the field for a single extra point, which he made.

Coaching: D

There were some bizarre choices in Marcus Satterfield's offensive play-calling. He ran several rushing plays in third down and long situations, one with Dakereon Joyner at quarterback, even though the Gamecocks have consistently struggled in the run game. Both of Rattler's interceptions were on the same receiver routes.

At least coach Shane Beamer made the smart decision to pull Rattler in the fourth quarter to prevent an injury.

Overall: D

If it wasn't for Kai Kroeger, the Gamecocks would have earned a failing grade. This was an embarrassing loss to a conference rival in front of a large group of high-priority recruits visiting Williams-Brice Stadium. There are very few positive takeaways.

Contact Emily Adams at or on Twitter @eaadams6.