Running into an Indiana whirlwind led by quarterback Dave Schnell, the South Carolina Gamecocks failed to find their pace as a team and headed home from the Liberty Bowl with yet one more post-season defeat.
"It seemed like we never did have all 11 players doing the right thing at one time," said South Carolina receiver Robert Brooks.With their 34-10 loss Wednesday night to Indiana, the Gamecocks fell to 0-8 for bowl appearances.
"Sooner or later, somebody is going to bring home a bowl game for South Carolina," said Gamecock center Randy Harwell. "I think we just had a bad night overall. It just seemed like everything was going against us."
South Carolina's defense was stymied throughout the evening in trying to control Schnell who hit on 16 of 31 pass attempts for 378 yards and two touchdowns.
"We knew what he was doing. We just didn't play smart on defense," said South Carolina safety Mike Tolbert. "He'd sprint out and throw a little quick pass and we just couldn't defend it."
Tolbert got South Carolina's only touchdown when he scooped up a third-quarter Indiana punt blocked by Antonio Walker and Keith McDonald and sprinted 34 yards for the score.
For awhile, it seemed like the Gamecocks' fortunes might be turning, Tolbert said.
"I hoped it was, but it didn't end up being that way," he said. "I don't know what to say. I'm ready to get in the locker room and go home."
Schnell's passing success, which included an 88-yard touchdown play with flanker Rob Turner, was largely due to the Gamecocks' failure to force him to throw, said South Carolina Coach Joe Morrison.
"We just didn't get enough pressure on him," Morrison said.
"They threw the ball very well and they just made some fine catches," he said.