South Carolina Tennessee Football

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp leaves the field Saturday after the Gamecocks' 41-21 loss to Tennessee. USC needs to win three of its final four games to become eligible for a bowl game. Wade Payne/AP

Doomed by a dreadful second half, the University of South Carolina football team was beaten 41-21 by Tennessee on Oct. 26 in Knoxville. The Gamecocks were in good shape early on, taking a 21-17 lead into halftime. But the Volunteers scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to grab the 20-point win. The loss dropped the Gamecocks to 3-5 and leaves their bowl possibilities in perilous position with just four games remaining in the season. Receiver Shi Smith was a bright spot for South Carolina, catching 11 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, and Bryan Edwards caught eight passes and became USC’s career receptions leader. The Gamecocks will now host Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2. Meanwhile, No. 4 Clemson had little trouble with ACC foe Boston College, mauling the Eagles 59-7 at Death Valley. It was the most complete performance of the season for the defending national champions, who are now 8-0 on the year. — Chris Trainor

Scientists: Digging new lakes in SC would be a bad idea

A group of retired scientists and state regulators are saying that a new state plan to combat flooding in South Carolina actually could make things worse. According to The State’s Sammy Fretwell, a recent report from the state Floodwater Commission makes a number of recommendations, including channelizing rivers and digging new lakes to hold back floodwaters. But a group called the Senior Conservation Leadership Alliance has sent a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster criticizing the plan. “The alteration of natural stream and river channels to clear the way for commercial development allows destruction of naturally functioning systems and increases flooding,’’ the alliance writes in the letter. “Likewise, creating reservoirs with associated residential development creates future flooding problems, and destroys the natural functionality of the river and associated wetlands.’’ Fretwell reports that the letter represents the opinions of 22 scientists, retired national resources officials and conservationists. — Chris Trainor

Santee Cooper paying down bond debt ahead of SC legislative debate

Santee Cooper paid down $360 million in bond debt ahead of the 2020 legislative session when South Carolina lawmakers are set to debate the future of the state-run utility. Paying off a portion of Santee Cooper’s outstanding debt is part of the utility’s broader business plan, along with increasing the amount of power it gets from solar arrays and retiring some of its coal-fired power plants in the next eight years. The multimillion payment to bondholders still leaves Santee Cooper with roughly $6.8 billion in debt. About $3.6 billion of that is tied to the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project, which was canceled in 2017 after Santee Cooper and its project partner SCANA Corp. spent $9 billion. Santee Cooper was the minority owner in the ambitious construction effort — one of the first nuclear power projects in the country in decades. After it was canceled, Gov. Henry McMaster and some state lawmakers began calling for Santee Cooper to be sold off to one of the country’s investor-owned utilities. The multibillion dollar debt is one of the primary issues McMaster and others state leaders used to attack Santee Cooper. In legislative hearings, lawmakers have questioned whether that long-term debt is sustainable for Santee Cooper’s electric customers, which include the state’s 20 electric cooperatives. That’s one reason why Santee Cooper has moved to aggressively pay down its debt before lawmakers cast a vote that will decide the fate of the state-run utility. Since the V.C. Summer project was abandoned in July 2017, the Moncks Corner-based utility has cut its debt on the unfinished nuclear reactors from roughly $4.1 billion to $3.6 billion. — Andrew Brown, The Post and Courier

Nearly 4,000 SC veterans claim to be affected by burning trash pits during wars

Thousands of South Carolina’s Iraq and Afghanistan veterans carry the weight of war on their lungs. They suffer from shortness of breath, cancer and disease, and blame toxic smoke inhalation from smoldering trash burned in the desert at the request of the government. After the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center collapsed on Sep. 11, 2001, American soldiers were jettisoned into wars in two foreign countries. The military, in a hurry, propped up forward operating bases in the middle of the desert and asked for assistance from private contractors for basic needs, such as waste removal. Contractors had a simple solution: Burn the trash. Despite warnings from military officials on the ground about possible harm, the Department of Defense went ahead with the burn pits. About 3,700 Palmetto State veterans have now put their stories on a registry claiming they have severe health ailments as a result of the decision to burn waste. The smoke has affected their skin, eyes, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, gastrointestinal tract and internal organs through multiple diseases and cancers. A bill aimed at addressing the issue recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and Rep. Joe Cunningham, a Charleston Democrat, delivered a floor speech supporting it. The bill seeks to expand information provided on the registry, possibly paving the way for more research on burn pits. — Thomas Novelly, The Post and Courier

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