View from the Upper Deck: USC 49, UAB 6

Game Ball: Jadeveon Clowney

I would have loved to give another game ball to Dylan Thompson after last week’s game, but his first drive of the second half was poor, narrowly avoiding two sure interceptions.  Therefore the player that gets the prestigious View from the Upper Deck game ball then is Jadeveon Clowney.

He finally appeared to be the one-man wrecking crew we all expected him to be this season.  He had flashes of brilliance against Vandy and ECU, but tonight Clowney seemed virtually unblockable, disrupting a number of plays in the backfield with 3.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.  If not for a few missed holding calls, he could have potentially doubled both of those totals.

Quarterback controversy?  How about a little running back controversy?

Connor Shaw simply did not look sharp tonight.  I don’t know if his shoulder injury was hindering his strength and accuracy, but it definitely had nothing to do with his decision making.  I love Connor’s toughness, but if he is going to be the guy to lead us to the promised land of the SEC, he needs to be better in just about every facet of his game. I’m starting to wonder if Dylan Thompson may get another look from Spurrier.  If Connor can’t go next week, Dylan will be our man.

So where are we if he plays well and leads us to a win over Mizzou? Steve Spurrier has the makings of another quarterback battle on his hands.  The offense looked awful with Shaw and explosive with Dylan Thompson under center.

Now to the running back controversy.  Obviously Lattimore is our lead man, but what about the second string.  Mike Davis looks like he is going to be a star, and Kenny Miles should be relegated to special teams and garbage time duty.  None of that matters though if the O-Line continues to be ineffective in run blocking.  It got better as the game went on, but in the first two quarters they looked terrible.

The Numbers On Defense: 0.6 and 240

South Carolina’s defense gave up 27 yards rushing on 42 attempts which equates to 0.6 yards per carry.  That’s astounding.  I’ll give you two chances to guess which SEC defenses have given up 0 touchdowns in the red zone so far this season.  The answer?  South Carolina.  Stout run defense is the reason.

On the other side, the secondary once again gave up some pretty big plays, allowing 240 yards through the air, despite a ferocious pass rush.  A lot of those yards came on third-and-long.  This is going to hurt us this season if we can’t fix the hole.  The Gamecocks seem to be playing “bend don’t break” style football, giving up field goals and not touchdowns, but a field goal can still beat you.  I think once our guys in the secondary get comfortable playing with each other, we will see a pretty significant improvement.  Keep in mind Lorenzo Ward has several first and second-year starters in the secondary.

 Quick Hits

  • With his second quarter TD, Marcus Lattimore broke the all time touchdown record at USC with 34 total touchdowns, previously held by Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and Harold Green.  
  • Tonight’s victory over UAB marks Steve Spurrier’s 200th win as a head coach.  
  • Congratulations to Shaq Roland and Mike Davis for recording their first touchdowns as Gamecocks.  These two guys are the future of South Carolina football, and the future is bright.
  • Ace Sanders took his game to a new level, hauling in 4 catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.  A lot of those yards came after the catch, juking, stiff arming, and just plain running through tackles.
  • Cocky’s costume is actually garnet now, and he looks better than ever.
  • The band’s new uniforms look fantastic, and I’m loving their new style musically.