Five takeaways from South Carolina’s 20-15 loss to Appalachian State on Saturday:


1. No Margin


South Carolina’s bowl hopes were already on life support even with a win. With games against Texas A&M and Clemson remaining, a bowl berth seems like pipe dream. USC sputtered on offense most of the night against the Mountaineers, who pushed the Gamecocks around on both sides of the ball. Plenty of questions now abound for a team that looks headed for a 4-8 season and miles away from the one that shocked Georgia.


2. Excellent Edwards


Edwards keeps racking up records in South Carolina’s receiving record book. On the 23-yard touchdown pass from Hilinski late in the fourth quarter, Edwards passed Alshon Jeffrey for all-time receiving yards with 3,045. He already owns the record for total catches and is one receiving touchdown away from matching the mark of 23 held by Jeffrey and Sidney Rice (Gaffney High). It will take a few years to fully assess Edwards’ place among those two and Sterling Sharpe, but the prize of coach Will Muschamp’s first recruiting class has made his mark on mostly mediocre teams.


3. Cold Hilinski


Quarterback Ryan Hilinski continued his up and down play against the Mountaineers.


With no running game to speak of, the Gamecocks relied on the freshman to move the ball with a depleted corps of receivers that included two walk-ons. Hilinski was 32-of-57 for 325 yards but was well under 200 until two late drives. He twice overthrew Bryan Edwards in the end zone in the final minute, though the final play wouldn’t have counted because of a penalty. When Edwards left the game early in the second quarter because of an injury, the Gamecocks’ offense started sputtering and never fully recovered.


4. Running Nowhere


So much for South Carolina’s stellar running game. The Gamecocks, sixth in the SEC in rushing offense, had just 31 yards on the ground well into the third quarter and finished with just 21, the second lowest total this season. Senior running back Rico Dowdle, in his first game back since injuring his knee on the first series against Florida, had 14 carries for nine yards despite two huge receptions on the game’s final drive.


5. Plenty Parker


Other than Edwards, USC’s kickers might be the most reliable players on USC’s roster. Parker White, after some struggles early in his career, has become a steady scorer when the Gamecocks’ offense bogs down in the red zone. He led the team in scoring last year with 84 points and is 15-of-19 on field goals this season. White was 3-of-3 on Saturday with a career-long 50-yarder, and Joseph Charlton averaged 52.4 yards on five punts.