They were a plus in the offense/defense ratio in nearly every statistic last season. That included allowing less than 2 TD's on average per game. They kept opposing QB's and rushers on average under 200 yards per game (196.2-passers, 153.8-rushers). That was thanks to the defensive line applying pressure to the QB's who dropped back, and clogging up the holes to keep the opposing tailbacks in check. The only statistic they were minus in was interceptions, and that was due to the secondary's inability to cover downfield when the QB was able to get a throw off.
As mentioned earlier, their defense was lead to those impressive stats by Clowney, who was not drafted No. 1 overall just for the famous tackle against Michigan a few seasons ago. His size, and personal statistics backed up the wise decision of the Houston Texans, pairing Clowney up with the new $100 million man J.J. Watt. Those stats also show why the Gamecocks look so lost without Clowney staring and chasing down opposing college QB's in the SC red and white. Clowney finished 2nd with 47 tackles for loss, including finishing second in 2012 in that category. He also finished second with 13 sacks in 2012, and 5th overall with 24 career sacks. Granted, his numbers did decline in his final year due to injuries, there is no doubt that he is an effective, intimidating presence to have on the defensive line. Without that presence, the Gamecocks look to be on their way to a tough season, being forced to find a new defensive weapon. A weapon that seems to be M.I.A through one week of play.