Some quick, barely researched, not fully-formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 42-35 loss to Auburn on Saturday:
Defending moral victories. Saturday was the most relaxed I’ve been during a Gamecock football game in ages. I honestly can’t remember going through an entire game without even having my heart rate raised at least a little. I know this sounds strange because it was a thrilling, back and forth game. But it’s true.
I think part of the reason is that I had resigned myself to losing this game long ago. Before the season most of us had this game circled as our most likely loss given Auburn was coming into the season with a lot returning from a #2 national finish last year, and we were playing at their place, which is one of the toughest venues in the country.
As the season progressed what little hope I did have for this game faded, and by the time game day rolled around I honestly expected a 50-something to 20-something type of game in Auburn’s favor. I wasn’t far off on the Auburn part, but didn’t expect the South Carolina offense to be so productive in a hostile environment, at night, on the road, in the SEC. I’m proud of the guys, for how they played and competed and had a chance until literally the last play of the game.
When the game was over I felt good that we went toe-to-toe with the #5 team in the country and had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. A moral victory? Yes it was, most definitely.
Spare me the “wins and losses are all that matter” and “there are no moral victories” speeches. I’m not a coach or a player, and nothing I write, say or do has any impact on the outcome of a football game on any given Saturday. Sure, there were some aspects of the game that were frustrating Saturday night (three guesses?), but all things considered the way we played gave me hope for our last four regular season games.
We can dwell on another loss, or we can look at a team that fought hard and take some positives from it into next week. I’ve tried the former, it’s time to give the latter a chance.
Team Thompson. Saturday was perhaps the most Dylan Thompson that Dylan Thompson has ever been – a supremely confident, strong-armed leader with spotty accuracy and a mind-boggling ability to turn the ball over at the most inopportune time. He became only the third quarterback in South Carolina history to throw for more than 400 yards in a game, and needs to average roughly 190 yards over his final four regular season games to become only the third to go over 3000 yards in a season.
I sure wish we could petition to get a sixth year of eligibility for him.
King Tuttchdown. Pharoh Cooper had a career high in receiving yards (127), and if he keeps this up with be pushing for a first team All-SEC slot.
The Rocket. Mike Davis also had a fantastic game, rushing for 88 yards and catching six passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. He’s looking more and more like the Mike D from the first half of last season, which is good news as we head down the stretch.
Defenseless. “Lorenzo Ward should be fired yesterday.”
“Lorenzo Ward hasn’t forgotten how to coach, it’s a talent issue.”
In which camp do you fall? Tbone and the Gman had a spirited debate over text that I’ll try to publish later in the week. Tbone wants Ward fired, Gman wants to keep him.
I’m not sure what the answer is. How could Ward go from being on the cusp of possibly getting mentioned for head coaching jobs to running one of the worst defenses in the country?
I can understand both sides of the debate, but if Steve Spurrier’s comments on Sunday are any indication, Lorenzo Ward has nothing to worry about. At least for now.
The HBC. Spurrier’s comments a few days back that he “doesn’t see the plays as well as he used to” got a lot of attention from the fans. Then Saturday night he pulled a rabbit out of his hat and called perhaps his best game of the year. There’s just something about the HBC and big games.
Let’s just hope he treats the last four the same way.
One is the loneliest number. Unless you play defense for Auburn.
Go Cocks, beat the Vols!