ATHENS, Ga. — As the final seconds ticked off the Sanford Stadium clock during Georgias 41-30 beating of South Carolina, Jadeveon Clowney trudged off the field to a chorus of boos from the Bulldogs faithful.
The frustration of having Georgia dominate the line of scrimmage, run the ball at will and the inability to get off the field in crucial situations was wearing on the Gamecocks All-America defensive end. He watched as the Bulldogs rolled up 536 yards of total offense and controlled the clock for more than 35 minutes, including the final 8:28 of the game.
The 536 total yards is the third most yards South Carolina has allowed in a game since 2004.
Im real upset about it, Clowney said. I hate losing, especially to Georgia. They pounded us up front, beat us hands-down. Georgia executed their game plan. We knew we had to stop the run, and we didnt do that and it caused us a loss.
Georgia rode the bruising running of Todd Gurley (30 carries, 132 yards) and Keith Marshall (7-58) and a quick passing attack that made the South Carolina pass rush ineffective. Aaron Murray threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns.
We knew we had to stop the run to have a chance, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. There is no excuse. We just got our butt beat. Im sure every position on defense can improve. I myself as a coordinator have to improve.
USC coach Steve Spurrier said the expectations are too high for a defense that started several unproven sophomores and freshmen.
I look out there and see all those redshirt freshmen, second-year guys, and I start to wonder if were expecting a little bit too much out of those guys, Spurrier said. It is a freshman-laden defense out there. They will take their lumps, I guess.
Georgia spent much of the night running away from Clowney and having him try to make plays from the backside. He recorded his first sack and had two tackles for loss with three tackles. Kaiwan Lewis led USC with 12 stops, and T.J. Gurley had 11.
Clowney hopes the coaches find a way to get him more involved.
Its hard chasing the play from the backside. They were taking me right out of the game with what they did, Clowney said. I told coach to put me in the middle or something. Anything to help me make some plays. If they want to move me around, thats up to the coaches.
While the inability to stop the run proved to be pivotal in the long-run but broken coverage in the secondary was the final nail in the coffin for the Gamecocks.
Mike Davis scored with 13:55 remaining in the fourth quarter to pull USC within 34-30 but four plays later Murray threw a 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley on a third-and-13 play. Clowney forced pressure from the inside and Murray rolled to his left and found a streaking Scott-Wesley for the score and 11-point cushion.
We had combo coverage called, Ward said. I will take the blame. The quarterback got outside the pocket and T.J. (Gurley) took the inside receiver.
Clowney said this loss is already behind the team and they are moving forward.
We have to get back out there and work, he said. This is behind me and we have to get out on the practice field and move forward. Our next game is Vanderbilt and thats my focus going forward.