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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Auburn had a chance to tie the game late. Fourth down from the South Carolina 12-yard line with nine seconds to play.

Bo Nix scrambled, but he couldn't find anyone open. He was tackled after a 3-yard run, which would have been negated by a penalty anyway.

The Tigers fell 30-22 to the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium to fall to 2-2 on the season.

It's Auburn's first loss to the Gamecocks in eight tries dating all the way back to 1933, when South Carolina got its only previous win in the series.

"Disappointing loss," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said, "but I am proud of our guys fighting until the end."

Here are three things we learned:

1. Turnovers cost Auburn this game

Auburn dominated nearly every facet of the first half. It outgained South Carolina 253 to 119. It converted 6 of 9 third downs, compared to just 3 of 7 for the home team. It averaged 4.8 yards per carry to the Gamecocks’ 2.2. It committed fewer penalties for fewer yards. It didn’t have to punt.

But the Tigers lost the turnover battle, 3-1, thanks to a pair of Bo Nix interceptions. One was his fault, as he didn’t see Jaycee Horn charging in front of a well-covered Ze’Vian Capers on third-and-11 to start the second quarter. The second one could have gone either way – the quarterback threw a ball slightly behind Seth Williams, who was able to get his hands on it, but the ball deflected away and Jaylin Dickerson came up with it.

South Carolina started both ensuing drives in Auburn territory. Those were its only drives of the first half that crossed midfield, and both reached the end zone. Had it not been for those two turnovers, the home team might have been shut out in the first half. Instead, it was just a two-point game at the break.

The Tigers drove for a field goal to open the second half, but the Gamecocks were able to immediately respond for the go-ahead touchdown on their first drive of the game that crossed midfield without the benefit of a turnover.

South Carolina quarterback Collin Hill threw an interception of his own in the third quarter, which linebacker Owen Pappoe made a great play to grab off a Christian Tutt deflection, but Nix threw his third interception five plays later.

The Gamecocks scored 30 points Saturday. Twenty-one came off turnovers.

"We got to execute way better," wide receiver Eli Stove said. "We put them (the defense) in a lot of bad spots. They had three interceptions inside the 50, so it’s kind of hard to play with that."

2. Inconsistency is killing the Tigers

Had you watched only the first quarter Saturday, you might be surprised to find out Auburn lost.

Because it looked like the better team at the start. It marched down the field for scores on each of its first two drives to take a 9-0 lead. South Carolina’s first two drives netted minus-12 yards on seven plays and resulted in a pair of punts.

Even when the Gamecocks turned Nix’s first interception into a touchdown, Auburn responded immediately with a seven-play, 75-yard drive to push its lead up to 16-7.

It looked a lot like last week’s home win over Arkansas. The Tigers led that game 17-0 early in the second quarter. The defense came up with stops on the Razorbacks’ first five drives. But the visitors outscored Auburn 28-13 from there. It took a field goal in the final seconds (after a near turnover on a spike) just to survive.

This week, it was South Carolina that outscored Auburn 30-13 after falling behind 9-0 early.

3. Tank Bigsby needs more touches

For the third straight week, Auburn’s true freshman running back was the best thing going on offense. He gained 111 yards on 6.9 yards a rush.

But, he carried the ball only 16 times. Nix attempted 47 passes and rushed 15 more times. The Tigers finished the game with a 36-47 run-pass split despite leading for more than half of the 60 minutes.

There's no way to know if establishing Bigsby more early would have changed anything, but at the very least, it seems the Tigers should find out.

"He ran extremely hard again this week, you know, for the third week in a row, broke tackles, ran with an attitude, so he did a really good job," Malzahn said. "I mean, he’ll be a factor moving forward.”

This article originally ran on annistonstar.com.

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