Oh ye of little faith. I am not a gambler. Oh sure, when in Las Vegas I’ll occasionally visit the blackjack tables and lose a little money. You know, when in Rome and so forth.
But when I saw the line for last Saturday’s Tennessee at South Carolina game I was tempted. The Vols were installed as a 22-point favorite, and had just destroyed Missouri 66-24 while the Gamecocks were lifeless in a 38-6 loss to Florida in which they didn’t score an offensive touchdown. The two offenses were polar opposites of each other, which is why I genuinely expected a blowout loss to the suprising new darlings of college football.
I even went so far as to put an app on my phone where I could lay the points and win some dough. Thank goodness my conscience got the best of me. I never placed the bet going against my beloved Gamecocks. And good thing I didn’t.
Saturday night South Carolina put on the most mind-blowing performance in the 130-year history of Gamecock football. There was absolutely nothing from either team through ten games to suggest USC would score 63 points against the fifth-ranked team in the country while holding their explosive offense to 31 points until a late garbage-time touchdown.
This was a game dreams are made of – national prime time audience, raucus crowd, big recruiting weekend, a playoff spot possibly on the line for the visitors and a heaping spoonful of respect on the line for the home team. And USC responded in every conceivable way, playing with an attitude and ferocity we have not seen since the days of Shaw, Ingram, Clowney and Lattimore.
I have been hopeful and cautiously optimistic during the Beamer era, but my biggest concern was how we have played against the best teams. More often than not it has been not very well.
I have no idea if we’ll see the same team when we line up against Clemson this Saturday. It’s possible we’ll revert back to the team we saw against Missouri or Florida. But if we can start to put together performances even close to this consistently, we’ll be well on our way to being the team and program we’ve been waiting for.
Marcus bleeping Satterfield. Two guys have been taking the brunt of the criticism for our offensive struggles this year. I’ll start with Marcus Satterfield. I don’t know what kind of pep talk, or ultimatum, or threats from the administration he was given last week, but Satterfield put on a show with his play calling against Tennessee. There have been hints of this type of performance for a quarter here and there over the course of two years, but Saturday was a master class in calling offensive football from wire to wire.
Satt knew where the Tennessee defensive weaknesses were and exploited them throughout the game. Every offensive player who suited up touched the ball at some point it seemed. Bell, Juju, Brown, Brooks, Juice, Adkins, Vann, and the list goes on and on. We’ve talked about the quality of offensive weapons we have all year and how we’ve underperformed. But the drain was unclogged on Saturday and the yards and points came flowing out.
The conspiracy theory that Satterfield wasn’t calling plays is kinda ridiculous. Some “experts” Zapruder-filmed the sidelines and came to the conclusion that Marcus wasn’t talking into his headset or communicating with the offensive staff. Intead, they theorized the play-calling duties were “spread out” among a number of coaches. That sounds really plausible and efficient, no? What did they do, set a rotation order for play calling among these coaches? Did they draw straws to see who got to go first? And if that’s the case why in the world did Beamer give Satt a game ball?
It’s ludicrous, and while we’ve been plenty critical of Satterfield most of the year, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. He did a helluva job Saturday night.
Spencer bleeping Rattler. I’ve been a huge Spencer Rattler fan from the time he arrived in Columbia. I’ve beat the drum about is talent and skills and have been waiting for his breakout week after week. But after the Florida game, I was certainly questioning my evaluation of Rattler. Was I way off base? Is he really not very good?
To throw for over 400 yards, six TDs and no interceptions against anybody is pretty impressive. But to do it against a top five team on that stage is how you prove you are the guy we thought you were. It was absolutely spectacular, and one of the top three offensive performances in Gamecock history.
Overheard. SEC Network’s Spencer Hall commenting on South Carolina running out of fireworks towards the end of the game because they’d scored too many points: “I’ve never seen anyone in South Carolina run out of fireworks in any context.”
People I’m happy for. Off the top of may head, Josh Vann, Jordan Burch and Sherrod Greene. They all deserved a game like this. I’m sure there are many more.
Hate week. What a glorious week it has been, and the Tennessee win has added a 55-gallon drum of intrigue to this weekend’s Carolina-Clemson game. I don’t know if we can replicate what we did to the Vols, but Clemson has been less than impressive for stretches this season. At the same time, we’ve had trouble keeping this game close for years now. It should be a fascinating game to watch.