Some short, quick, barely researched, not fully formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 34-16 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday:
Meh. That’s pretty much how we felt walking out of Williams-Brice on Saturday afternoon. I turned to Tbone, shrugged my shoulders, and he said, “I’m not really sure what to say about that.” Shortly after, Gman caught up with us, and gave a similar palms up shrug to mine.
It’s not that we weren’t satisfied with the win, we certainly were. Especially given what is on the line in the SEC East over the course of the next month. But it was an uncomfortable game, one that MSU hung around in a little longer that we would’ve hoped due to three-and-outs in seven of our eight first half possessions. But an opportunistic Gamecock defense forced five turnovers, and four of Connor Shaw’s ten completions went for touchdowns to help USC pull away in the second half. It was a hard game to get a good grasp on, so we’ll just put this one in the win is a win is a win category.
Team Shaw. Shaw moved into second all-time in touchdown passes behind Steve Taneyhill, and is now one win from tying Todd Ellis as the winningest quarterback in South Carolina history. It’s hard to believe the kid who came into the 2010 Auburn game in relief of Stephen Garcia for his first meaningful collegiate action would reach such a lofty perch in Gamecock lore.
The Rocket. Mike Davis reached a milestone in the second half, going over the 1,000 yard mark for the season with a 43-yard burst. He has now rushed for over 100 yards in seven of nine games this year. If he continues to match his per game pace over the last four games he would go over 1500 yards for the season, which would be the third-best season in South Carolina history. Davis added a pretty nifty catch down the right sideline that I’m sure is going to catch the eyes of NFL scouts as well.
Home Sweet Home. The Gamecocks tied an all-time record with their 15th straight home victory on Saturday, and can break that record in two weeks against Florida.
Coming around. Lorenzo Ward today said the defense is starting to play up to the standards he expects, which could be scary for future opponents. The team has relied heavily on the offense this season, so it was nice to see the game on the defense’s shoulders against MSU. Good teams find different ways to win when their best unit isn’t clicking, and that’s what he Gamecocks did on Saturday. It wasn’t a lockdown performance by any means, but we made the big plays when they were needed.
Spurs Up. Probably the position that has drawn the most criticism this year has been the Spur group, and nobody has taken more heat than the starter, Sharrod Golightly. But Golightly played an inspired game against the Bulldogs, as did Jordan Diggs when he had a chance to spell #9. Our linebackers and Spurs have grown up, just in time for the stretch run.
The Bandit. Vic Hampton lived up to his self-appointed moniker, tipping one pass that was intercepted by Skai Moore and stripping a Bulldog receiver late in the game. He can be a wildcard in the defensive backfield at times, but when he’s on his game there are no corners in the SEC that are better.
Hull yes. Tyler Hull recovered from a bad first punt and had another nice game, punting eight times for a 40.4 yard average. Consistency is key, and hopefully he’s finding it.
Wild Wild East. The best scenario for us – beat Florida, Georgia loses to Auburn, and Missouri loses to Ole Miss OR Texas A&M. I think all that sounds really reasonable, but unfortunately we have a few more weeks of nail-biting to go.
TRCpalooza. Great time in the capital city this weekend for all three members of TRC. We had a nice evening restaurant/bar hopping Friday night in the Vista (complete with a zombie flash mob), and then were joined tailgating on Saturday among others by social media superstars Lawrence and his girlfriend Sarah, Jon-Michael Gunnels, Layla, and last but never, ever least, Brandi Fournames. It’s always a little scary to put actual people with social media personas, but we can’t say enough about the folks that came by on short notice. We’ll try to get an earlier start on our planning next year and have an actual event with, like, invitations and stuff.
Go Cocks! Enjoy the bye week folks.