South Carolina stumbles into Gasparilla Bowl vs. UAB
Despite a 2-8 record, six-game losing streak and coaching change, South Carolina is headed to a bowl game.
The Gamecocks will play UAB (6-3) on Saturday at the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa. In this season impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Gamecocks made it to the postseason because of other schools opting out and the Southeastern Conference pecking order for bowl slots.
Mike Bobo, formerly the head coach at Colorado State, will stay in his role as interim head coach with the Gamecocks. He replaced Will Muschamp, who was fired on Nov. 15 after South Carolina started 2-5.
Recently hired head coach Shane Beamer, the son of former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, will not participate in the bowl game.
Shane Beamer left his position as Oklahoma's tight ends and H-backs coach. He will be on the sideline observing the team's limited bowl practices.
Media reports suggest Bobo is trying to retain his offensive coordinator position.
"Right now I'm focused on the bowl game," Bobo said. "We'll be fine wherever we end up. I believe in my family. I believe in my ability to coach ball. I'll have the ability to coach ball whether it's here or someplace else."
Two Gamecocks assistant coaches who will not be retained, defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson and special teams coordinator Kyle Krantz, will coach in the bowl game. Offensive line coach Eric Wolford, who accepted a similar position at Kentucky, will not participate.
UAB beat Marshall 22-13 last week to win its second Conference USA title in the past three years.
The Blazers are appearing in their fourth straight bowl game since returning to action in 2017. The program was terminated after the 2014 season, but financial pledges from the UAB Football Foundation prompted the program's swift reinstatement.
Bill Clark, the Blazers' head coach since 2014, was rumored to be one of the candidates for the vacancy at Auburn. However, reports Monday indicated he was no longer in the running.
When asked about that speculation after the win over Marshall, Clark said, "I won't comment on that other than to say, like I told you before, I love UAB."
He added, "This is mine, and we built it together. But it's always good to be thought of, and that's my job in this business to win games. And when that happens, I think people see that. So, you know, we'll just see what happens, but I love my players and love UAB."
The Blazers are led by running back Spencer Brown, who has 186 carries for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns. Brown became the first player to be named the Conference USA Championship Game MVP twice after he had 30 carries for 149 yards against the Thundering Herd.
Brown has 4,011 career rushing yards. He is one of only two active players in the nation to have 4,000 career rushing yards, along with Clemson's Travis Etienne (4,920 yards).
South Carolina also has a strong running game with Kevin Harris rushing for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns on 185 carries.
--Field Level Media
Updated December 22, 2020