Each week, Garnet Report’s Zach Crowl recaps the Gamecock’s last outing, analyzes the positives and negatives to take from the game, and reveals what to be excited about for next week’s matchup. Stay tuned every Monday to hear Zach’s take on the game.
Spurrier summed up Saturday’s game against the University of Alabama Birmingham with one simple post-game quote; “One of the closest 49-6 games I have ever been around.” However, it really wasn’t that bad of a showing by South Carolina. Sure there were some hiccups, and the offense in the first half looked rough, but other than that it was a pretty solid outing. The Gamecock defense looks well prepared heading into conference play next week, but Saturday also left Carolina fans with some questions regarding the quarterback situation. The Gamecocks offense may have been a little slow in the first half, but the second half showed the true colors of the ‘Cocks and what should be expected for the rest of the year.
Room to Improve
- Shaw Not Exactly 100%
The decision to start Connor Shaw Saturday night was greeted by a multitude of cheers, but in the end was ultimately a bad decision. Shaw started off uncharacteristically shaky and finished with 107 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception, and negative six yards rushing. This less-than-average performance by the junior quarterback coupled with the rise of Dylan Thompson raises questions for many fans as to his status for the Missouri game next weekend.
- Shortage of Lattimore
Before the season began, the return of Marcus Lattimore was one of the biggest stories in college football. After the third week he seems almost non-existent. Twelve carries for 85 yards isn’t exactly what Gamecock country was expecting this year of the preseason Heisman candidate. In his last seven games, Lattimore has only rushed for over 100 yards in two of them. While he did break the school record for touchdowns on Saturday, Lattimore was outplayed by freshman Mike Davis who came onto the scene late in the second half.
- Thompson Continues Stellar Play
Last week questions surrounded the inexperienced Dylan Thompson and fans wondered if he could step into the large shoes he had to fill. The only question fans had this week of the sophomore quarterback was whether or not he could repeat the same brilliant performance from a week before. Sure enough, Thompson did not disappoint, throwing for 177 yards and two touchdowns in limited action against the Blazers. The tremendous play of the young quarterback has even sparked the idea of a two quarterback system for Coach Spurrier.
- Defensive Dominance
The Gamecock defense showed up in a big way against UAB. They started off with a bang, as DJ Swearinger took a “fumble” sixty five yards to the end zone for USC’s first score of the game. From there on out, it was pure shut down defense. Clowney led a defensive line that racked up six sacks, with two tackles for a loss, two sacks, and seven total tackles. The linebackers held their own as well, only allowing 27 total rushing yards. This defensive unit ranks seventh in the nation and still has yet to give up a touchdown from the red zone this season.
- Winning one for the Head Ball Coach
Saturday marked a monumental day for Coach Steve Spurrier as he reached his 200th career college football victory. Only three other active FBS coaches have amassed as many victories, proving the difficulty of this impressive feat. Spurrier did not see the need to celebrate being that it was his 247th win as a coach counting his victories in the NFL and USFL. However, anytime a milestone such as this one is achieved, all of Gamecock nation has a reason to be proud.
What to Expect Next Week
Next week brings the Gamecock’s first real challenge since facing Vanderbilt in week one. Missouri features a high powered offense led by a quarterback who is simply fun to watch. Don’t expect the Gamecocks to roll over this opponent as they have for the past two weeks. Spurrier winn need to put in much preparation and practice if Carolina plans to come away with a victory against the new guys in the SEC East. The quarterback position is uncertain now, but don’t be surprised if a 100% Thompson gets the start over an 80% Shaw. As long as the defense continues its dominance, the ‘Cocks should be able to handle this more difficult test.