Coach Beamers quotes and presser video

: South Carolina raced out to an early lead behind its up-tempo offense, another touchdown pass from punter Kai Kroeger and DQ Smith’s pick-six. But as the sun settled over TIAA Bank Field, the Gamecocks offense lost its way and Notre Dame’s ground game took control, eventually tracking down South Carolina in a 45-38 Gator Bowl victory for the Irish, Friday.

USC’s defense held up against Notre Dame’s potent rush attack throughout the first half and much of the third quarter before Logan Diggs broke through with a 39-yard touchdown run, giving the Irish their first lead. After being limited to just 64 yards in the first half, the dam broke as the Irish ran for 149 yards in the fourth quarter. No single player eclipsed the century mark, but the duo of Diggs (89 yards) and Audric Estime (95 yards) picked up crucial first downs and leaned on the thin Gamecocks defense, pressing them to exhaustion. Of course, the Irish were playing without some key pieces, as well, including quarterback Drew Pyne. Tyler Buchner stepped in and made some big plays with his arm (274 yards, 3 touchdowns) and his legs (61 yards, 2 touchdowns).

The Gamecocks defense made its share of plays, too. Freshmen DQ Smith and O’Donnell Fortune each returned interceptions for scores. Smith struck first, taking back a tipped pass (Alex Huntley) 47 yards to give USC a 21-7 lead. Fortune made his mark midway through the fourth quarter. The freshman, making his first start, read the eyes of Irish quarterback Tyler Buchner before plucking an errant pass out of the air and streaking 100 yards to the end zone. The Gamecocks fans in attendance erupted as the turnover tied the game and swung the momentum back in South Carolina’s favor.

But it wasn’t to be as Notre Dame scored the game-winner on a 16-yard pass from Buchner to tight end Mitchell Evans with less than two minutes remaining. After lighting it up in the first half and helping USC take a two-touchdown lead, Spencer Rattler and his receivers fell out of rhythm as the game tightened. Rattler and Xavier Legette (7 catches, 78 yards, 2 touchdowns) connected on a highlight-worthy 42-yard scoring pass midway through the third quarter, but little else went the offense’s way as the Irish ratcheted up the pressure. The Gamecocks were also hampered by the loss of its lone tight end, Nate Adkins (5 catches, 78 yards), to an upper-body injury. Juice Wells (5 catches, 30 yards) was clearly not 100% after leaving the game holding his ribs, further limiting Rattler’s options.

South Carolina (8-5) heads into the offseason with uncertainty surrounding some draft-eligible players like Rattler, Wells and Jordan Burch, but head coach Shane Beamer also deployed a lot of young talent down the stretch that should contribute in 2023.



Beamer on Gamecocks QB Rattler's finish to the season:
He's a competitor. He was lighting it up in the 1st half. He's a heck of a football player and got better as the season went on. He was a catalyst for our good second half to the season.
Beamer on late personal foul against Gamecocks RB McDowell: I thought they were being pretty aggressive with Spencer (Rattler) on the ground but officials said they didn't see that. We didn't retaliate a couple of times but we did there. Tough way to finish.
Beamer on his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty: Sometimes the officials want to make the game about themselves. Thank God for the officials we have in the SEC. We got talked to more tonight than we got talked to the entire conference season.
Beamer on end of 1st half penalties (personal foul block on Joyner and his unsportsmanlike conduct): I thought it was a tough call. DK didn't blow the guy up. I saw DK trying to be a smart football player ....
Beamer says delay of game penalties on his punt team were due in part to ND: They led nation in blocked punts and there was a bit of cat-and-mouse that they got us on.
Beamer: We had guys at halftime, the things they had to do in the locker room just to get back out there and play, I hope it's evident how much these guys are giving out there.
Beamer again says Gamecocks' offensive play-calling was a "group effort: " Won't confirm it was Freddie Kitchens calling the plays (but gives specific credit to Kitchens and Nick Coleman).
Beamer: When you score twice on defense, you ought to win. Our guys left everything out there. We were down 12 guys that had played against Clemson that didn't play tonight. I want to thank the Gamecocks fans that came down here. What an environment. Best fanbase in the country.