COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - It was supposed to be a night filled with joy and happiness for the South Carolina seniors.
Instead, it was Appalachian State who was all smiles. Thanks to a strong defensive showing, the Mountaineers spoiled Senior Night for South Carolina by handing the Gamecocks a 20-15 loss at Williams-Brice.
Both offenses stalled in the opening quarter. However, a pair of Parker White field goals put the Gamecocks ahead 6-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Following Chandler Staton’s second field goal of the night, the Mountaineers would claim the lead late in the second quarter. Ryan Hilinski’s pass would be deflected and land in the hands of Nicholas Ross, who returned it 20 yards for the score making it 13-6.
That interception would end a streak of 180 consecutive pass attempts without an interception for the freshman, which is now a school record.
South Carolina’s offense hardly found a rhythm in the first half posting just 148 yards with only 31 of those coming from the rushing attack. The Gamecocks also went 2-for-9 in the first half on third down.
The Mountaineers stretched their lead in the third quarter. After White’s third field goal of the night, Jalen Virgil put App. State in great field position with a 57-yard kickoff return. Six plays later, Corey Sutton gets the Mountaineers inside the Carolina 5-yard line thanks to a few missed tackles and some hard running. Zac Thomas capped the drive with a 1-yard option keeper making it 20-9 with 7:10 left in the third.
Carolina cut into the lead in the fourth quarter. Hilinski connected with Bryan Edwards for a 23-yard touchdown pass to finish off a 12-play drive and give the Gamecocks their first touchdown of the night. The Gamecocks, however, failed to convert the 2-point conversion and trailed App. State 20-15 with 2:58 remaining.
Carolina made one last effort to come away with the win. After App State downed the kickoff at their own 4, the Gamecocks were able to come up with a stop to get the ball back. However, the offense couldn’t come up with points to come away with the win.
On 4th-and-15, Hilinski was able to find Edwards all alone on the final play of the game, but the throw was a little too strong and was called incomplete.
South Carolina falls to 4-6. They’ll travel to Texas A&M next week.