South Carolina soccer falls to Notre Dame 45-38 in a disappointing Gator Bowl end

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — South Carolina soccer misplaced 45-38 to Notre Dame within the Gator Bowl on Friday in disappointing vogue after a last-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty value them earlier than the ultimate play.

With 30 seconds on the clock, South Carolina was in a third-and-long scenario following an intentional grounding name on quarterback Spencer Rattler. On the next play, working again Juju McDowell was referred to as for unsportsmanlike conduct and the Gamecocks’ Hail Mary on the ultimate play went incomplete.

The Gamecocks (9-4) got here out scorching, main Notre Dame (8-5) 21-7 on the finish of the primary quarter. The mixed 28 factors was a Gator Bowl report for factors in 1 / 4, surpassing the earlier mark of 24 set in 2011 by Michigan and Mississippi State.

The Irish mounted a comeback to tie it 24-24 early within the third quarter, however South Carolina reclaimed the lead due to a spectacular 42-yard landing catch by Xavier Legette. Notre Dame then took the lead early within the fourth quarter till O’Donnell Fortune intercepted the Irish in the long run zone and recorded the longest interception return in Gator Bowl historical past for a 101-yard landing.

South Carolina and Notre Dame had not met since 1984, and the Irish now lead 4-1 within the all-time collection. It was the Gamecocks’ first Gator Bowl look since 1987.

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Beamer Ball strikes once more, however the Irish battle again

The Gamecocks’ explosive first quarter was headlined by a pretend area aim that holder Kai Kroeger threw for a 23-yard landing to lengthy snapper Hunter Rodgers. The staff additionally added a defensive landing within the first quarter: Freshman DQ Smith picked off a tipped move from Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner and returned it 53 yards to the home.

To not be outdone, the Irish ran a pretend of their very own early within the fourth quarter. Punter Davis Sherwood threw a 20-yard move to receiver Braden Lenzy, which arrange a 39-yard landing run by Logan Diggs that gave the Irish their first lead of the sport.

Fortune’s interception tied issues up once more, but it surely finally wasn’t sufficient to carry off a charging Notre Dame offense.

Offense struggles to maintain momentum

The expectations had been excessive for Rattler and the South Carolina offense coming off regular-season upsets over Tennessee and Clemson. Within the Gator Bowl, the unit was a wildly inconsistent. After scoring on their first drive, the Gamecocks didn’t get into the tip zone once more till Legette’s heroic seize late within the third quarter. Additionally they could not capitalize on a key interception by defensive lineman Nick Barrett within the third quarter, punting on a drive that began on the Notre Dame 46.

With prime working again MarShawn Lloyd and star tight finish Jaheim Bell within the switch portal, South Carolina didn’t get a run sport going. The staff completed with 75 complete rush yards, and solely McDowell and Rattler logged greater than 10 yards. Tight finish Nate Adkins was a standout within the passing sport, although, following up his big efficiency towards Clemson. The senior was the staff’s prime receiver with 78 yards, together with a 24-yard catch that arrange the primary landing.

Second-half collapse dooms Gamecocks

Between the final three drives of the third quarter and first drive of the fourth, the South Carolina offense logged negative-14 yards on 12 performs and didn’t cross the 50-yard line on 5 of seven drives within the second half. The unit punted 4 straight instances between the third and fourth quarter after doing so simply as soon as within the first half. He additionally gave up 35 yards on penalties, together with the ultimate name on McDowell, which primarily ended the sport.

The Gamecocks’ protection additionally fell aside after halftime, with the notable exception of the interceptions. They compelled simply two punts within the second half and allowed touchdowns on half of the Irish’s drives. The largest problem was their weak spot towards explosive performs, giving up 11 rushes of 10 or extra yards and 7 passes of 15 or extra yards. The Irish ran throughout South Carolina within the second half, logging 211 yards in comparison with simply 54 within the first half.

This text initially appeared on Greenville Information: South Carolina soccer misplaced 45-38 to Notre Dame in Gator Bowl

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