Shane Beamer felt the need to apologize to South Carolina football fans Saturday night after the Gamecocks (6-6) fell to No. 23 Clemson (9-3) in a 30-0 shutout loss for its last regular season game of 2021.
“I want to apologize to our fans for that performance,” Beamer said in his postgame press conference. “It starts with me as the head coach. At Gamecock Walk before the game, I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of anything like that in my entire coaching career — the electricity, the energy in that stadium was was amazing, and I appreciate what our fans did. We challenged them and they were awesome tonight. And sorry we didn’t play better for you.”
The Gamecocks’ woeful offensive resurfaced once again against the Tigers, totaling their second-lowest total yardage (206), better than only the Texas A&M game on Oct. 23 (185 yards).
South Carolina rushers were held to their season-low run game total, accumulating 43 yards. It was the fifth time in 12 games that the Gamecocks weren’t able to earn more than 100 yards on the ground.
Defensively, USC struggled to contain Clemson’s rushing attack, allowing the second-most yards to an opponent on the ground in 2021 against Clemson (265). South Carolina came into its season finale allowing 171.1 yards per game, but the Tigers had already surmounted that
Here’s more of what Beamer had to say in his postgame press conference.
Opening statement on the state of the team: “That’s a hurt locker room in there right now. Hurt for our seniors. Just told them the locker room, everybody’s disappointed, we hurt. There’s a lot of tears in that locker room right now. We’re not going to let one game define this group. We’ve done way too many good things and fought our butts off throughout the season to be sitting here at six wins. This is a critical month coming up for us in December.
“Thank God we are bowl eligible. It’s a great accomplishment for this football team, and I’m so happy that we get another month together as a football team. And we’ve got to get better and continue to improve. This is just the beginning of Carolina football. We’re not going anywhere, only continuing to get better and continuing to work so we don’t have night like these.
“Got off to a horrific start. Not good football, not good coaching, not good playing. Just way too many mistakes offensively and defensively in that first quarter. And just got ourselves in a hole. Like we have all year, we continued to fight and battle. But we’re not into moral victories around here. We got to play better, got to coach better and wasn’t good enough tonight.”
On making coaching staff changes after the regular season: “We just walked off the field. We’ll evaluate the football team after the season. I mean, we won a game last week, and we’re ready to anoint people coach of the year, and we had a bad night. So like we do at the end of every season, I will sit down with (athletics director Ray) Tanner and (senior deputy athletic director) Chance Miller and look at what the best thing for our program is going forward. The thing I’m excited about doing is getting on the road recruiting tomorrow, meeting with the team and learning from this one like we always do.”
On Clemson’s defense: “They’re really, really good. They’ve got guys all over that defensive line that were recruited by everybody in the country, and they’re extremely, extremely well coached. I mean, they play hard, they are in the right place at the right time. They do so much defensively. My hat’s off to them because they’re able to execute so many different things, and it’s hard to get a bead on them and what they’re doing. They do a great job coaching, and it showed tonight.”