Snap Judgments – USC @ Kentucky (Late) Edition

^^^This Guy^^^

Sorry for the late posting, but here are some quick, barely researched, not fully formed thoughts from yesterday’s 38-17 victory over Kentucky:

A tale of two halves. A 17-7 deficit in the first half, and a 31-0 whitewashing of the Wildcats in the second half. That’s the epitome of two different games rolled into one, and pretty much the opposite of our last trip to Lexington. Thank goodness for our coaches, veteran player leadership and sideline full of guys who didn’t panic. Not much more could’ve gone wrong in the first half, and it’s as if the Gamecocks took a deep breath at halftime, said “ok, we’re much better than them, let’s go execute”. It was game over when the teams came out of the locker room for half number two.

The Gamecocks muscled up and played like the #6 team in the country should against an SEC also-ran. Starting at about 7:06 on Saturday night, we won’t have the luxury of sleepwalking through a half any more. It’s time for some big boy football now.

Flashbacks. Speaking of that last trip to Lexington, a lot of people on our side downplayed the 2010 game all week. But when we were down 17-7 and that snap sailed over Connor Shaw’s head giving Kentucky a shot at more points just before half, you couldn’t help but recall that nightmare feeling. That feeling you were about to lose to a vastly inferior team. That feeling that you had to deal with an extra layer of the Sunday blues. That feeling that you had to try to explain to all your co-workers what the heck happened on Saturday night. Goodbye SEC, goodbye SEC East, goodbye GameDay, goodbye season. A half-full Commonwealth Stadium would forever be our house of horrors.

Good thing our guys had another script written, and I didn’t have to write another post like this.

The I has it. Since Marcus Lattimore arrived on campus, we’ve seen very few traditional two-back sets in our offense. We have been mostly a one-back, zone read kind of team for the last three years, but when we weren’t having success against one of the worst rushing defenses in the country last night, Steve Spurrier dusted off one of the back pages of the playbook and pulled out the old I-formation. That’s when Lattimore gashed the ‘Cats for most of his 120 rushing yards. It was nice to see, and according to the HBC we’ll probably see more of it going forward.

Maybe even inside the 5 coach?

Latti-MORE. #21 had a vintage game last night. Everybody keeps saying Lattimore is “not quite back yet”. I’m not sure exactly what they’re seeing, but he’s looked pretty good to me all year, he just hasn’t had the opportunity to take a game over until last night. I think his carries have been limited for the most part to ease him back before we hit the meat of our schedule, which happens to be next week. If he’s got it going on Saturday against UGA, expect to see him get 25-30 carries.

Hampton In. Props to Vic Hampton for quite possibly saving the game last night. If Kentucky walks that fumble in just before the half, who knows if that’s a knockout blow to our psyche. Maybe not, but you never know.

How was Hampton in the right place at the right time? I sent a tongue in cheek tweet saying “thanks for being lazy Vic Hampton” that was probably taken the wrong way by a few folks (one in particular). The ball was bouncing around for such a long time you’d expect all eleven defenders to be around it, but Hampton was hanging in the back because he had followed his guy into the end zone. He wasn’t being lazy, he just found himself where he did because he was doing his job.

Plus, he deserves a mention because he played a pretty good game.

Most popular guy on the team. You know who it is? The backup quarterback. I actually saw a couple of tweets at the half last night calling for Dylan Thompson to replace Connor Shaw.

You know this guy Shaw? The guy who in his last two games has completed 35-39 passes for 397 yards and 4 TDs? Oh, and rushed for 117 yards on top of that? Yeah, that’s the guy you want replaced?

Chill people. Seriously.

Game Freakin’ Day. When was the last time we had a game as big as this coming weekend’s at Williams-Brice Stadium? I’m not talking about just having a big-name or highly ranked opponent coming in, I mean a game with major national implications like the UGA game will have. Alabama? Nah, we had already lost a game to Auburn that year and weren’t ranked anywhere near where we are today. Maybe Florida State in ’84?

UGA should have a clear shot at the SEC East title with a win, and while we still have work to do if we win (LSU & Florida among others), I think it can be done. Then, a one-game showdown with Alabama to go to the BCS title game? Sign me up.

When you think about the possibilities for the winner of this game, I’d say it’s hard to find a game that’s been bigger that we’ve played in. Period.

Mick Patrick – Play by Play Professional. Our old College World Series buddy was back at it last night, and by the end of Kentucky’s first offensive series had already called out “Myron” Jerideau and Aldrick “Foreman” on our defense.

It surprised me a little they didn’t try to find Mr. and Mrs. Refsnyder in the crowd.

APB. Please let us know if you’ve heard from Ron Morris. We’re getting worried.

Go Cocks, beat Georgia!