South Carolina football loses to Notre Dame in offensive shootout

South Carolina football lost to Notre Dame, 45-38, in the 2022 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Despite the loss, South Carolina was able to get two pick-sixes. The passing offense was the engine for the Gamecocks in this one as Spencer Rattler threw for 246 yards.

South Carolina started off this game with a score on their first possession behind Spencer Rattler’s passes. Notre Dame was not able to get anything going on offense, having to punt after three plays.

It seemed like the Gamecocks would go down the field again on offense, but Ahmarean Brown fumbled the ball on second down, giving good field position to Notre Dame.

Notre Dame used this to their advantage, scoring a TD on this drive. Rattler responded by creating a drive of his own, using his arm to get a TD and the lead back for the Gamecocks.

On the next drive, Notre Dame made their first huge mistake of the game as Tyler Buchner threw an interception to DQ Smith. Smith returned it for a touchdown.

The Gamecocks had a 14-point lead, and would still have a 14-point lead after field goals by both teams. Tyler Buchner finally broke the field goal drought by throwing a 75-yard pass to Logan Diggs. The game was now a one-possession game.

No one would score in the last 5 minutes of the first half, as South Carolina got one first down on their next drive and couldn’t get anything, making them punt. Notre Dame would do the same thing, except they didn’t get a first down at all.

South Carolina would have one more drive, but a penalty on special teams basically prevented them from getting anything. The drive did end up in an interception but honestly, I felt like Spencer Rattler had nothing to lose on that throw (given the time of the clock, therefore threw it in a very tight window).

Both drives by both teams in the second half started off with three and outs, as well as punts. Notre Dame’s offense would ignite for this first score of the half, as the rushing attack would excel.

South Carolina would go for their own score behind their passing offense, taking a one-possession lead. Notre Dame would not respond at all, as Tyler Buchner threw a interception.

Spencer Rattler couldn’t get anything going however as Rattler struggled through the air. The Gamecocks had to punt the ball after three plays. After two first downs, Notre Dame would do the same thing.

The Gamecocks’ passing offense couldn’t allow their defense to get a rest as they quickly went three and out. Notre Dame would score a TD on their next play, as Buchner threw a 44-yard pass to Braden Lenzy.

South Carolina’s offense couldn’t respond, as the passing offense flamed out again. Notre Dame would get the ball after three short plays, taking advantage again; going for a TD behind Buchner passes and Logan Diggs thirty nine-yard run.

For the first time in the game, Notre Dame had the lead. They would keep the lead, as the Gamecocks would go three and out.

Where South Carolina’s passing offense had failed, their defense stepped up getting a pick-six (Notre Dame was in the red zone, and South Carolina did let up a lot of yards on that drive until the pick, but they ended up with the turnover and tied the game).

Notre Dame would use its’ running game to take the lead again once in this game, as Diggs co-led the charge to take a 7-point lead with less than 2 minutes in this game.

South Carolina football would have a lot of penalties (intentional grounding, personal foul, Illegal block; the illegal block was on the kickoff) on their last drive of the game, and Notre Dame would end up with the win.

South Carolina football falls to Notre Dame in 2022 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

As I have done for the other bowl game analysis, I will quickly analyze the team that is not in the SEC first. Honestly, this game was kind of like a short movie on how the Irish’s season went. They struggled at first, and then they ended their season pretty well.

Yeah, it looked a bit sluggish in the middle, but hey, they won 8 games in the regular season and ended up with a pretty good bowl win. That’s pretty good for Marcus Freeman’s first year coaching for the Irish.

This loss doesn’t really change how I view the Gamecocks season overall. I analyzed it here but basically, they should have beaten Florida and Missouri and the season could have been a disappointment, but then they beat the teams in the Orange Bowl (Clemson and Tennessee) this season.

I believe that the Texas A&M win is notable because that is the first time that they have beaten but the Aggies had a lot of offensive struggles that aren’t anything to write home about. Also Will Levis was injured in the Kentucky game; which was a big win but I will not count it, I would but the last two weeks of their season were much bigger wins.

Both of these teams had real playoff chances till South Carolina sent them home. A win or loss wouldn’t have changed my thoughts on their season, but the offense did shut down in the second half (scoring only one touchdown, the other touchdown was a pix-six).

Basically, this season is a success for Shane Beamer because of those two victories over two top ten teams (including one that was your rival; also this season wouldn’t be a success with only two wins obviously) and 8 wins is great progress for this South Carolina football program.