USC-LSU: Gamecocks Should Have Seen It Coming

Justin DixonContributor IOctober 20, 2008

For three quarters I sat in Williams Brice Stadium, forgetting about all the blown games of the past and focusing on what could happen this year. I did not think about the meltdown after the 6-1 start last season, Mike Davis' fumble against Georgia on the goal line this year, or even the "chicken curse."

I was happy with the way the Gamecocks were playing and excited at the opportunity to beat a highly ranked opponent on ESPN, but in the end I should have seen the letdown coming.

The fourth quarter proved to be like many other games that the Gamecocks have played in the recent past. Having flashes of good play but losing games in the fourth quarter to the likes of Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and this year LSU have become all too familiar.

Even before Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz would routinely see his team let a win slip from their fingertips in the waning minutes of a game. How much more of this can Spurrier take? I'm not sure about that but I'm already standing on the top of a very high bridge.

In all fairness, the Gamecocks asked a red shirt freshman quarterback to do way too much because of the lack of a run game. LSU's defense apparently didn't take too kindly to the way Florida handled them the week before and their D line not only stopped every rushing attempt, but had Stephen Garcia on his back far too often.

The Gamecocks' defense, one of the best in the nation, held its own most of the game, but Les Miles and the Tigers' offense wore them down and took the lead back with four minutes and some change left in the fourth quarter.

The opportunities were there for the Gamecocks but they just could not capitalize.

Top receiver Kenny McKinley was wide open for a first down in the fourth quarter that would have put South Carolina deep into LSU's territory with a chance to extend their lead, but Garcia couldn't connect with him as he was throwing on the run.

The very next drive sealed the deal with the Tigers going 83 yards on 11 plays in six minutes and 24 seconds. The Gamecocks never recovered and neither did the crowd as the memories of blocked extra points and goal line fumbles came rushing back.