Sept. 23, 2017
South Carolina 17, Louisiana Tech 16
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Nothing had gone right in Parker White's college career. He missed two field goals last week in a South Carolina loss and two more as the Gamecocks looked on their way to an embarrassing loss to Louisiana Tech.
Oh-for-four, booed on his home field and torn apart all last week on Twitter, the freshman kicker finally hit a kick true, the 31-yarder sailing through the uprights with seven seconds left as the Gamecocks (3-1) beat the Bulldogs 17-16 on Saturday.
White danced around the field waving his arms at the student section after the first game-winning field goal in his life. And after the Bulldogs (2-2) failed to return the kickoff, he ran and jumped into the student section.
''Biggest thing as a kicker is you have to forget about your previous kicks,'' White said.
The winning was an immediate balm for South Carolina. But there were still problems. Sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley had several overthrows and an ugly interception that required a tackle from him to prevent a touchdown the other way. There was a defense that put little pressure on Louisiana Tech and allowed 6-of-13 conversions on third down - with the meat of the Southeastern Conference schedule starting next week at Texas A&M.
''We all take the blame together - starting with me,'' coach Will Muschamp said.
The Gamecocks (3-1) trailed 13-0 before a wild fourth quarter that saw South Carolina take a 14-13 lead and Louisiana Tech (2-2) answer with a 10-play, 84-yard drive that ended with what appeared to be the game winning 25-yard field goal by Jonathan Barnes with 55 seconds left.
Bentley knew he had to get the ball down the field so his roommate could win it. ''You're going to have to step up and make one for us,'' Bentley told White during the week.
And Muschamp said he went to White at halftime and told his kicker that he had a feeling he would have to win this game. Muschamp then sent his kicker out with a big smile and a high five right before his prediction came true.
''I'm very proud of Parker White, who stood tall in a week of negativity.'' Muschamp said.
Bentley was 22-of-34 for 295 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ty'Son Williams ran 13 times for 95 yards after getting no carries for South Carolina in last week's loss to Kentucky.
For Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz, it was another shot at a big win that slipped away. The Bulldogs led Arkansas midway through the fourth quarter last year before losing 21-20 and lost to Kansas State 39-33 in triple overtime in 2015.
''We've been close,'' Holtz said. ''There's no moral victory in close.''
QUOTING COACH MUSCHAMP
"We were sloppy with the ball, especially offensively. We put the ball on the ground three times and we lost one ¬-- self-inflicted wounds. We had an interception to Aaron Roberson on third down. We had some missed protection on something we'd prepped. Just really shot ourselves in the foot. We punted twice in the game. We're going to have a hard time overcoming those things. Hats off to the defense, and the effort that they had. They made a stop in the red zone. JaMarcus King had an interception. Gutty performance, I hate that they got the deep ball on us, the 42-yarder. There were some miscommunications with the jail break stunt there. A very gutty performance by our guys. They fought their tails off down 13-0 in the third quarter. There weren't a lot of positive things going on, and our guys fought through it. It says a lot about the resilience and character of our football team. The culture of our football team is outstanding. There was no one negative on the sideline. Everyone was positive. Everyone kept fighting their butts off. It was a great effort. I said all week, Louisiana Tech has a good football team. They'll win Conference USA. At the end of the day, we've got to continue to be more productive scoring points. We left 16 points on the field the last two weeks. I'm very proud of Parker White, a guy that stood in there amongst the negativity and made the game-winning kick. I'm really proud of him. I'm extremely proud of the effort of our football team, because we've got a great culture here and a lot of very positive things going on. Certainly, we needed a win to be able to coach off that tomorrow rather than the other. Through a week of a lot of negativity, I'm very proud of the way they handled coming back in very adverse circumstances. I'm very proud of the way they fought to come back. It says a lot about the type of young men and the character we have in that locker room and the leadership that we have in that locker room."
With Louisiana Tech driving for points towards the end of the third quarter, JaMarcus King intercepted J'Mar Smith on South Carolina's three-yard line. That set up a 16-play, 97-yard drive that was capped by OrTre Smith's 28-yard touchdown pass from Bentley, cutting Louisiana Tech's lead to 13-7.
41 -- On South Carolina's final drive, Jake Bentley hit Bryan Edwards with a 41-yard pass down to the Louisiana Tech 14-yard line. That pass completion set up Parker White's game-winning 31-yard field goal with four seconds remaining, giving the Gamecocks the one-point win.
The Gamecocks return to SEC action next Saturday when they travel to College Station to face the Texas A&M Aggies. The Gamecocks are winless in three tries against A&M, all coming since the Aggies joined the SEC.
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