Here are some quick, barely researched, not fully formed thoughts from last night’s sloppy 49-6 victory over the University of Alabama-Birmingham:
Broken records. Let’s start with two pretty significant records: first, Marcus Lattimore became the all-time leader in touchdowns scored at South Carolina with 34, surpassing George Rogers and Harold Green. Of note, Lattimore has accomplished this in 23 career games, while Rogers had 33 TD’s in 47 games and Green had 33 in 44. It’s pretty amazing to think where he might be if he hadn’t injured his knee last year, and where that record might wind up if he decides to stay for his senior season.
The other record is actually a milestone – Steve Spurrier’s 200th career win. He’ll never get to the upper stratosphere in wins, but even so he will certainly be recognized as one of the top 10 college coaches of all time once he’s done. His innovative offenses of the 90’s changed the SEC and the college game forever. Also, he was quick to point out he has 47 professional wins to his credit, as if to say, “hey, I took time off to do some other things, these guys ahead of me didn’t.”
Attack of the rabbits. Jadeveon Clowney had perhaps the best game of his college career last night, with 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss. Devin Taylor was also all over the place last night, and the interior linemen were smothering the UAB run game from the get-go. It’s still early, but the defense is ranked in the top 10 in the country in rush defense and points allowed. We were also introduced to the name of our four-man front where we line up all defensive ends – “Rabbit”.
Now all us novices can feel football smart when we see it and can say to our buddies, “hey, check it out, they’re in Rabbit.”
On the other hand…They got it under control for the most part in the second half last night, but there seem to be a lot of breakdowns happening in the defensive backfield. There are too many receivers finding space, and that’s ok for the competition we’ve played the first three weeks, but next week things will get ratcheted up a bit. Breakdowns against the Missouri’s and Georgia’s of the world, where one play can be the difference, can get you beat.
Thompson to the rescue. Once again, Dylan Thompson came in like a man on fire after Connor Shaw re-injured his shoulder/scapula/back/something. He made one bad decision, a few bad throws, but survived them all to throw for 177 yards on just five completions. The combination of the play calling and his newfound confidence disturb me a little, because he seems to think he can fit every throw in in every situation. He threw one pick that was erased by a flag, and another that the UAB guy dropped and could’ve been a pick six. Again, mistakes that can’t be made against big time competition.
Shaw looked shaky, much like he did against Vandy. He didn’t have a lot of zip on his throws, and missed a couple of open guys by a lot. Still, let’s hope he’s ok by next Saturday, because we’ll need his dual threat capabilities to keep Mizzou off-balance. (Although he ran a lot less last night than normal, which I’m sure is to protect him.)
Receivers receiving. Ace Sanders had a great night, and might be about to break out the way we expected him to this year. He has great hands, and is great in the open field and hard to bring down one-on-one. Bruce Ellington also had a fantastic night before injuring his shoulder, coming up just short of his first career 100-yard receiving game. Dameire Byrd is averaging something like 137 yards per catch, Shaq Roland got his first taste of the Carolina end zone, and Jerell Adams…wow, what a man-child. With the exception of the enigmatic D.L. Moore, the pass catchers had a good night. The future is bright at receiver for the Gamecocks, now we just have to get them the ball.
Glued to their seats. It appears a lot less people left early last night. Or at least they stayed until some time ran off the clock in the fourth quarter. But even the HBC admitted last night’s game was long, saying in the post-game presser, “I was about ready to leave with ’em.”
The Transitive Property Report. I’ve actually decided to make the TPR a separate weekly feature, so be on the lookout for that mid-week. But I couldn’t go through this column without marveling at what a train wreck Arkansas is. They finished strong last season, and had National Championship aspirations coming into this year, even with the Bobby Petrino fiasco. But after a stunning lost to Louisana Monroe, a 52-0 thrashing at the hands of Alabama, and the starting QB calling out “quitters” on his team, the fans are about ready to burn Fayetteville down.
There but for the grace of God go us all.
Go Cocks! Beat Mizzou!