Dec 23, 2023; Boise, ID, USA; Georgia State Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott hoists the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl trophy after the game against the Utah State Aggies at Albertsons Stadium. Georgia State defeats Utah State 45-22. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Spring practices halted as Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott resigns

Georgia State head football coach Shawn Elliott resigned Thursday, forcing the university to halt spring practice and postpone the team’s spring game.

Elliott is leaving to accept the job as tight ends coach at South Carolina.

“This was not a professional move, but a personal move,” Elliott told ESPN. “We’ve made it work for seven years with my family still living in Columbia, and I even thought about not coaching this year. I had promised my daughter that I would be there for her senior year of high school and when this opportunity came up to go back to South Carolina and coach again, it was something I couldn’t pass up. I’ve always loved South Carolina.”

Spring practice started Tuesday to launch what was to be a group of 15 practices for the Panthers. The spring game initially was scheduled for March 7.

Elliott, 50, spent seven seasons with the Panthers, leading them to five bowl games. They beat Utah State 45-22 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last season.

Just last week, Elliott welcomed 12 new arrivals on National Signing Day, hoping to build upon his team’s 7-6 record in 2023.

He leaves Georgia State with a 41-44 record.

A South Carolina native, Elliott was part of the Gamecocks’ coaching staff from 2010-16 in a variety of roles before departing to accept the Georgia State job.

“We want to thank Shawn Elliott for his hard work and dedication the last seven years to build this football program. I know this was a difficult decision for him, but I understand his personal reasons, and we wish the best for Shawn and his family,” athletic director Charlie Cobb said.

“We are proud of what this football program has accomplished in such a short time. Six bowl games and four bowl victories in our first 10 years at the FBS level — I don’t know of another start-up program that has had that kind of success so quickly.

“I am confident that we will hire an outstanding football coach who will take Georgia State football to even greater heights. We plan to move quickly.”

Cobb did not state when spring practice might resume.

“It’s extremely difficult to step away from the Georgia State football program, particularly the players and staff who have gone above and beyond,” Elliott said. “As hard as this decision is professionally, it’s something that I must do personally.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) passes against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Gamecocks QB Spencer Rattler declares for ’24 NFL Draft

South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler announced Wednesday he will enter the 2024 NFL Draft.

Rattler passed for more than 10,000 yards with South Carolina (2022-23) and Oklahoma (2019-21).

“This has been a dream and goal of mine since I was a little kid and cannot wait for the chance to turn my dream into reality,” Rattler posted on social media.

Rattler passed for 3,186 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 12 games this season for South Carolina (5-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference).

For his college career, he completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 10,807 yards, 77 TDs and 32 picks with the Gamecocks and Sooners. He also rushed for 410 yards and 16 scores.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) is sacked by Clemson Tigers linebacker Barrett Carter (0) in the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 24 Clemson extends dominance of rival South Carolina

Clemson’s Jonathan Weitz kicked three field goals, and the No. 24 Tigers relied on their defense to stymie South Carolina in the 120th version of the Palmetto Bowl on Saturday night, toppling the Gamecocks 16-7 in Columbia, S.C.

Weitz made kicks from 50, 49 and 42 yards, while safety Khalil Barnes returned a fumble for touchdown as Clemson (8-4) won its fourth straight game and its eighth in the past nine meetings with the Gamecocks (5-7).

The Tigers’ defense held its in-state rival to 169 total yards on 56 plays – 3 yards per play — and forced two turnovers.

Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik finished 15 for 27 passing for 100 yards with an interception. He added 52 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Phil Mafah rushed for a game-high 89 yards on 19 attempts, and teammate Will Shipley had 80 yards on 15 carries.

Clemson improved to 73-43-4 in the all-time series.

Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler completed 16 of 32 passes for 112 yards with an interception. Xavier Legette had six catches for 68 yards.

South Carolina had its three-game winning streak snapped and failed to become bowl eligible.

On the second play from scrimmage, Clemson stunned the home crowd when Rattler’s swing pass to Legette was dropped and recovered by Barnes, who raced 42 yards for a score. The play was reviewed and upheld as a fumble.

When the Gamecocks started on the ensuing series, Barnes was at it again on the next snap. He picked off Rattler’s long pass downfield for his third interception.

Rattler’s 16-yard scamper on South Carolina’s third series set up a double-reverse on fourth-and-goal at the 1. Legette’s pitch to backup quarterback Luke Doty tied the game at 6:39.

Weitz put Clemson up 10-7 with a career-best 50-yard field goal late in the first quarter. He added one 49 yards out with 5:07 left in the half.

Clemson’s Barrett Carter sacked Rattler late in the half to stop a drive and leave the Tigers up 13-7.

Weitz capped the first series of the second half by booting a 42-yarder to give Clemson a two-score edge, 16-7.

But with the visitors driving later in the quarter, Nick Emmanwori made a one-handed interception of Klubnik in the end zone to stuff a developing Clemson series.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Ramon Jefferson (26) rushes against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Kentucky

Spencer Rattler leads South Carolina past Kentucky

Spencer Rattler tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Xavier Legette to lift host South Carolina to a 17-14 victory over Kentucky on Saturday in Columbia, S.C.

Rattler completed 19 of 27 passes for 207 yards, with Legette reeling in six catches for 94 yards.

The Gamecocks (5-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) have won three in a row to move to the fringe of becoming bowl eligible. South Carolina would accomplish that feat should it defeat Palmetto State rival Clemson on Nov. 25.

Devin Leary completed 17 of 34 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown, and Ray Davis rushed for 61 yards and a score for the Wildcats (6-5, 3-5), who have lost five of their last six games.

The combination of Rattler and Legette allowed South Carolina to open the scoring midway into the first quarter and allow the Gamecocks to regain the lead with 7:44 remaining in the fourth. The pair hooked up over the middle to give South Carolina a 17-14 lead, with the touchdown reception serving as Legette’s seventh of the season and fourth in the last three games.

Leary was hit as he threw, resulting in an easy interception for Tonka Hemingway with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Kentucky got the ball back, however Hemingway deflected Leary’s pass to turn the ball over on downs.

Rattler connected with Legette on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 7:27 remaining in the first quarter. Legette’s touchdown capped an 11-play, 69-yard drive that spanned 5 minutes, 11 seconds.

Mitch Jeter’s 23-yard field goal upped South Carolina’s advantage to 10-0 late in the first quarter, however Leary found Barion Brown for a 7-yard score with 10:52 left in the second.

Kentucky claimed its first lead as Davis rushed past the first and second levels of the defense before using a spin move to create space to complete his 31-yard touchdown. Davis’ 12th rushing touchdown of the season gave the Wildcats a 14-10 lead with 8:42 remaining in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) throws a pass during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson looming, South Carolina’s postseason push chugs on vs. Kentucky

South Carolina’s quest to become bowl eligible will advance when the team hosts Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference clash on Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

The Gamecocks (4-6, 2-5) answered four straight losses with a 38-28 win over Jacksonville State on Nov. 4 and a 47-6 victory vs. Vanderbilt last Saturday. Should South Carolina beat the Wildcats (6-4, 3-4), it would set up a regular-season finale with Palmetto State rival Clemson on Nov. 25 for the chance to punch its ticket to the postseason.

Spencer Rattler threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a score in the lopsided triumph over the Commodores. Xavier Legette recorded nine catches for 120 yards and Mario Anderson rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown.

“Yeah, um, you don’t want to make too big of a deal off one game,” Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer said. “I thought defensively, we didn’t make enough plays in the second half, but we showed some flashes (in a 30-17 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 28) of pressuring the quarterback and being aggressive and getting off the field on third down.”

South Carolina forced two turnovers and limited Vanderbilt to 234 total yards. A nice performance to be certain; however, Beamer was quick to keep it in perspective.

“I’m not gonna anoint us the ’85 Chicago Bears defense because of one really good day,” Beamer said. “But if we can continue to build on what we did (Saturday) and keep getting better — not just defensively, but our entire team — offense, defense and special teams — we’ll have the November that we want.”

Kentucky followed a winless October by splitting the first two games in November. The Wildcats became bowl eligible with a 24-3 victory over Mississippi State on Nov. 4 before falling for the fourth time in five games with a 49-21 setback against Alabama.

Kentucky was outgained 444-253 in total offense and allowed Alabama to convert 7 of 11 third-down opportunities.

“We have to regroup in a hurry and get ready to go on the road and try to get win No. 7 for us here this week at South Carolina, a team that obviously has played much better the past two weeks,” Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said. “They’ve also played some very good football teams and are more than capable of playing well in all phases.”

Rattler completed 14 of 19 passes for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception in South Carolina’s 24-14 victory over Kentucky last season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer directs his team against the Florida Gators in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina coach Shane Beamer broke foot after loss to Florida

Add South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer to the injury report for the Gamecocks’ game Saturday at No. 20 Missouri.

Beamer acknowledged after limping into his press conference Tuesday that he had broken a bone in his right foot after kicking an inanimate object following the team’s 41-39 home loss to Florida last Saturday in Columbia.

The Gators rallied from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to win the Southeastern Conference contest.

“It was after the game, and certainly that was a gut-wrenching and emotional loss,” Beamer told reporters Tuesday. “I was frustrated and kicked something that I shouldn’t have kicked and thought I was OK, but then the adrenaline of the game wore off.”

South Carolina is 2-4, 1-3 in the SEC — a slow start for the third-year coach now 17-15 overall, 8-12 in conference since his arrival. Wasting a 37-27 lead with 9:11 remaining set Beamer off — at himself.

“Before anybody starts the narrative like the head football coach is frustrated and lost his poise and all that — no, I care,” Beamer said. “I care about these kids, and I was really upset on Saturday night because I didn’t do enough to help them get over the hump and win the football game.

“It hurts like you-know-what, but I’ve got to show toughness and fight through it. Been one of those years.”

He informed athletic director Ray Tanner of the off-field injury to keep him ahead of the news.

“(Tanner) died laughing when I told him,” Beamer said. “Obviously, there’s not a lot of empathy from him.”

He also was transparent with his players and his family.

“It’s like I told the players. I don’t condone it and not saying it’s OK to kick things after the game,” Beamer said. “I feel bad as a dad. My kids saw me, and they were like, ‘What the heck?’ So, lesson learned. Stupid on my part.”

Beamer, the son of Hall of Fame coach Frank Beamer, played as a wide receiver and long snapper for his father at Virginia Tech from 1995-99 and served on his coaching staff from 2011-15.

The former player, now 46, joked that he was “very probable” to coach Saturday against Missouri (6-1, 2-1).

“The problem will be not being on any kind of pain medication — we’ll be like faking punts from the 2-yard-line on fourth-and-30 because I’ll be loopy if I’m on pain medicine,” Beamer quipped, “so we’ve got to make sure that I fight through with no pain medicine and can make calls.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) hands the ball to running back Cody Schrader (7) during the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

No. 20 Missouri aims to keep rolling vs. South Carolina

After scoring an upset at Kentucky, No. 20 Missouri is positioned to deliver a breakthrough season for fourth-year coach Eli Drinkwitz.

The Tigers (6-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) will continue that quest when they host South Carolina (2-4, 1-3) in their homecoming game Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri finished 5-5, 6-7 and 6-7 during Drinkwitz’s first three seasons.

“We got an opportunity to be 7-1,” Missouri defensive end Darius Robinson said. “My whole career has been one-and-this, two-and-this, three-and-this, and the opportunity to be 7-1 is a blessing.”

Missouri has gained bowl eligibility and moved into contention for a New Year’s Six bowl berth.

“This is good,” Drinkwitz said. “We’ll see how it plays out. We’re not really worried about bowls right now.”

Missouri rallied from a 14-0 deficit to defeat then-No. 24 Kentucky 38-21. The Tigers scored a touchdown off a fake punt to start their rally, then they secured the victory with three strong defensive quarters.

“We were able to limit the run game and force them into some pass opportunities,” Drinkwitz said.

Until the Kentucky game, Missouri’s offense had performed much better than the team’s defense. Quarterback Brady Cook has passed for 2,046 yards and 14 touchdowns with a 71.0 percent completion rate.

Cody Schrader has rushed for 648 yards and seven touchdowns, and Luther Burden III (56 catches, 808 yards, five touchdowns) and Theo Wease Jr. (34 catches, 394 yards, five TDs) are Cook’s top targets.

South Carolina is coming off a 41-39 home loss to Florida on Saturday. The Gamecocks rushed for 152 yards and piled up 465 offensive yards.

“Proud of the offensive line,” Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer said Sunday. “Thought they played really well. They gave us a chance. We were able to get the run game going and opened up the passing game and a lot to build on.”

Missouri’s defense applied significant pressure at Kentucky, so offensive line play will be critical for South Carolina. The Gamecocks shuffled the personnel on that unit going into the Florida game.

Center Vershon Lee moved to right tackle and was replaced at center by guard Nick Gargiulo, Beamer also plugged true freshmen Trovon Baugh (right guard) and Tree Babalade (left tackle) into the starting lineup and started Trai Jones at left guard.

When Lee suffered a knee injury in the third quarter, Sidney Fugar replaced him. Lee’s status for the Missouri game is unclear.

“As far as the moves, it was something that we had talked about moving Vershon to tackle a couple of weeks ago,” Beamer said. “It was one of those, ‘Do you want to make that change?’ because that is pretty radical to move your starting center to right tackle. We said, ‘Let’s just keep trying to get these guys a little bit better and see how we can evolve.’

“Certainly, coming out of the Tennessee game (a 41-20 loss), that didn’t happen. Felt like we needed to do something.”

South Carolina’s offense is led by quarterback Spencer Rattler, who has passed for 1,724 yards and 11 touchdowns with a 73.6 percent completion rate. Mario Anderson has rushed for 328 yards on 64 carries and Xavier Legette has caught 37 passes for 716 yards and three TDs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) throws a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Graham Mertz, Florida rally late, beat South Carolina

Graham Mertz threw for a career-high 423 yards with three touchdowns, including two with less than five minutes remaining, in Florida’s 41-39 comeback win Saturday over South Carolina at Columbia, S.C.

Florida (5-2, 3-1 SEC) won its first road game after losing the previous two against Utah and Kentucky.

Mertz’s passing helped Florida convert on fourth-and-11 and fourth-and-1 plays in a drive that resulted in his 4-yard touchdown pass to Arlis Boardingham with 4:40 left, cutting South Carolina’s lead to 37-34.

Mertz completed 30 of 48 passes without throwing an interception.

South Carolina (2-4, 1-3) was forced to punt after Mertz’s scoring connection with Boardingham.

Florida started the possession following the South Carolina punt at its 25-yard line with 2:43 remaining.

After three straight incompletions, Mertz completed a 26-yard pass to Ricky Pearsall on the fourth-and-10 play.

Montrell Johnson Jr. rushed for 11 yards before Mertz connected with Eugene Wilson III for 22 yards, taking the ball to the South Carolina 16.

After Johnson was stuffed for a 5-yard loss, Mertz completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Pearsall with 47 seconds left, putting the Gators ahead 41-37.

Pearsall had 10 receptions for 166 yards.

South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, who completed 23 of 30 pass attempts for 313 yards with four touchdowns, threw his first interception in the next possession.

Miguel Mitchell’s interception occurred at the Florida 31 with 20 seconds left.

South Carolina used its three timeouts afterward, forcing the Gators to take a safety with four seconds remaining.

A lateral attempt by South Carolina’s Dakereon Joyner on the punt attempt was fumbled and recovered by Florida’s Aaron Gates as time expired.

Florida’s Trey Smack made four field goals, the last from 54 yards, putting the Gators ahead 27-24 with 7:24 left in the third quarter.

Rattler’s 3-yard scoring strike to McDowell on the first play of the fourth quarter put the Gamecocks ahead 31-27.

Rattler’s 24-yard pass to O’Mega Blake set up his 33-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Simon with 9:11 remaining to give South Carolina a 37-27 lead.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) scores on a 76-yard touchdown reception against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina outlasts Mississippi State in aerial show

South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler flirted with aerial perfection Saturday night in the Gamecocks’ 37-30 victory over Mississippi State in Columbia, S.C.

Rattler, who completed his first 17 passes, went 18-for-20 for 288 yards and three touchdowns for South Carolina (2-2, 1-1 SEC).

Xavier Legette had 189 yards on five receptions with two TDs. Trey Knox caught one.

Running backs Dakereon Joyner and Mario Anderson each found the end zone once.

By winning for the eighth time in the past nine meetings, the Gamecocks took a 10-7 series lead.

For Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2), Will Rogers was 30-for-48 for 487 yards — third most in school history — but he threw an interception and lost a fumble.

Lideatrick Griffin set a school record with 256 receiving yards on seven receptions with a TD.

Starting at the 2 following a punt, South Carolina went 98 yards in six plays, with most of the yardage coming on Rattler’s 76-yard TD pass to wide receiver Legette for a 7-0 lead at 9:46 of the first quarter.

On the next drive from their 1, the Gamecocks strung together a 16-play series that took up nearly half of a quarter – 7:15 – and ended with Knox’s 17-yard score early in the second.

The fireworks continued when Rogers hooked up with Griffin on a two-play, 14-second drive that went 65 yards that halved the deficit.

Rogers was set up to tie the game, but David Spaulding intercepted him inside the red zone on third down at 10:40.

However, the Bulldogs made it 14-all when Jo’quavious Marks scored from seven yards after Rogers set up the score by hitting Griffin for 60 yards.

After Joyner’s TD run from three yards, the Gamecocks missed on a two-point conversion.

Bulldogs kicker Kyle Ferrie’s 49-yard field goal at the half’s end left the visitors down 20-17.

But on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Rattler remained perfect with his 14th consecutive completion, a 75-yarder to Legette for a 27-17 edge.

At 10:26 of the third, Mississippi State backup quarterback Mike Wright scored on a 1-yard keeper. Ferrie tied it with a 23-yard boot with two minutes left in the third.

South Carolina kicker Mitch Jeter answered from 35 yards for a 30-27 lead at 12:35.

Anderson padded the lead at 9:36 with a 9-yard TD run.

Ferrie’s third field goal, from 47 yards with 2:13 remaining, completed the scoring before a failed onside kick.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers (2) moves in the pocket against the LSU Tigers during the first quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

After playing No. 1 team close, South Carolina awaits Mississippi St.

When Mississippi State lines up against South Carolina for the first time in seven years Saturday night in Columbia, S.C., each will be trying to rebound from losses, albeit different degrees of defeats.

Under new coach Zach Arnett, who took over for the late Mike Leach, the Bulldogs (2-1) were quickly an afterthought in their Southeastern Conference opener last week as they hosted then-No. 14 LSU. It ended in a 41-14 rout.

Most confounding after three games is the plight of quarterback Will Rogers, who has 11,181 passing yards and 87 touchdowns in a spectacular 38-game career in Starkville.

Through his first three games of 2021 and 2022, the Brandon, Miss., native threw for a combined 2,060 yards and 18 scores.

The senior has just 492 yards with five touchdowns and a 59.5 completion percentage in 2023.

“I know he missed some throws that he needs to be able to complete if they’re there,” Arnett said. “Obviously, he was not getting a whole lot of help in protection (against LSU). We did not hold up to their pass-rush very well.

“It’s not very fun playing quarterback when you’ve got a pocket collapsing on you. Maybe that affected him a little bit from a mental standpoint.”

The Gamecocks (1-2) have to get over the mental anguish of letting an 11-point halftime lead over No. 1 Georgia get away in a 24-14 road loss to start their SEC season.

Looking more like the defending two-time national champion in the second half, Georgia held quarterback Spencer Rattler to 6 of 24 passing for 104 yards.

Rattler, who was intercepted twice, finished at 22 of 42 for 256 yards with a touchdown pass to Antwane Wells Jr., and led the Gamecocks with 35 yards rushing on a soggy day when they managed just 53 on 16 carries.

In 2022, South Carolina started 1-2 and went on to win seven of its next 10 games.

“We know we have a good football team,” Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer said. “We’ve been here, unfortunately, 1-2. But there are no moral victories. No guys are patting themselves on the back because we played Georgia to a 10-point game.

“There’s a lot of disappointment because we gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game and didn’t get it done.”

South Carolina owns a 9-7 advantage in the series, winning seven of the past eight meetings.

–Field Level Media