USC FOOTBALL

Gamecocks looking to move forward from loss to Tigers

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COLUMBIA - South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards said he doesn't dwell in the ecstasy of a victory or the disappointment of a loss for very long.

Whether we win or lose, I have a one-day rule," Edwards said following the Gamecocks' 34-10 loss to Clemson on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. "You take it in that night, and the net morning get ready to move on to the next opponent. Now we have to get ready to see who we'll play in the bowl."

USC saw its regular season come to an end with the disappointing loss to the defending national champion Tigers. However, as Edwards referenced, 8-4 Carolina gets to play one more game, a bowl contest likely somewhere in Florida.

While South Carolina certainly gave a better showing of itself than the 56-7 debacle in Death Valley in 2016, Saturday's performance didn't come close to what it anticipated going into the game. Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp is trying to maintain perspective on the outcome.

"I think that in any situation - and I've learned this from being in this game for a long time - it's never as good as it seems, and it's never as bad as it seems," the second-year Carolina head coach said. "It's somewhere in between."

While the South Carolina defense gave up 469 yards of total offense, the most disappointing statistic was that it only had 207 yards of total offense. More telling is the fact that 84 of that came in the fourth quarter when the Gamecocks scored all of their points.

Sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley struggled throughout the game. He finished completing 16 of 29 passes for just 126 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions, one of them being returned for a touchdown for the Tigers' first points. However, he was just 10-for-21 for 49 yards with the two picks and no TDs entering the final stanza.

"It's a hard deal when you get down, having to throw, especially when they start dropping eight in coverage," Bentley said. "We have to find a way to run the ball and get better. It sucks losing, but we have to get better. We're not going to let this define our program and we have to keep working and get better."

Muschamp said he never considered taking Bentley out of the contest despite his struggles.

"Jake's our quarterback," Muschamp said. "Again, you've got to protect a bit better. Obviously, he would probably like to have some throws back here and there. Overall, you've got to do some things.

"Whether it's protection or decision-making, it was a combination of those things. We had a hard time blocking at the end of the day. I'm sure he would like to have some throws back, especially the interception for a touchdown. We'll go back and make corrections and move forward."

"We need to work on the small details," Edwards said. "Sometimes we get in the moment and we lose sight of the small things and it kills us. As we get more experience that will come."

Muschamp saw his team move from six wins in his first year to the possibility of nine this season. He believes the program is on the right track.

"We need to continue to recruit. We're down about 10 scholarships right now because of the attrition we've taken over with. It is what it is; you don't hear me complaining about it. It's the situation we're in.

"We're going to continue to recruit and develop. We had 12 seniors that did a fantastic job for this football team, and we'll continue to build the program the right way."