South Carolina won the game 33-23. The Cocks did not cover the 16 point spread so gamblers betting on the Gamecocks lost money. However, winning was a great relief for fans of the team. It was an exciting, well-played ball game.
The ESPN U Broadcast
The announcers were pretty good. Here’s a picture of them.
Kelly Stouffer was the analyst and Kelly made some good observations about the decision-making by the signal callers. He was mostly critical, which was interesting. Stouffer was an NFL quarterback who started a number of games for the Seattle Seahawks. I was mildly irritated by Anish Shroff (@AnishESPN) who insisted on calling the Gamecocks, “SC,” throughout. What’s wrong with Carolina or USC? Or if you’re concerned about offending the hoity-toity fruits and nuts crowd, then use South Carolina. It rolls off your tongue and sounds hot.
One super cool thing about Anish, he insinuated a win for the Gamecocks less than two hours before the game started by tweeting an apparent prediction in this 4:16 P.M. tweet:
This was a team victory as everyone should have seen.
The offense scored on every possession except the first two drives. The Gamecocks dominated time of possession (36:19), and converted 7/13 third down tries (1/1 on 4th). The O-line was dominant in the game, particularly in the fourth quarter. It surrendered no sacks in 38 attempts.
- Special Teams:
The special teams played a really solid game. Kickoff coverage was good. The only punt went 55 yards and was downed on the three. Punt and kickoff returns, while unspectacular, were error-free. Elliot Fry was 4/4 on his field goals. The biggest special teams play was Dixon Junior’s (@) blocked field goal attempt.
I just went full speed. Put my hand up and I blocked it! [grins]. I tried my best to run down and pick it up and score a touchdown.
A really solid job on special teams. It’s a shame that the camera shot of the block panned up and right toward the goal post and missed some of the mad scramble for the rebounding football.
What can you say? The Pirates gained 453 yards total offense, 321 of which were passing yards. The Gamecocks pass defense ranks second to last nationally in passing yardage per game (for teams playing twice), slightly better than Bowling Green, which really must have an atrocious pass defense. LINK
Still, still, still, there was improvement from game one. Although the Gamecocks could not sack the ECU QB, they did hurry Carden on several occasions. At the D-end position, BAW (@), Dixon44 (@), English (@), and Ced Cooper all had nice games.
The secondary made two picks, both of which were really nice plays. Except for ECU’s two TDs, when the Pirates got close to the goal line, the D stiffened and held them to field goals. The physicality of the D was much intensified.
Conclusion and a Look Ahead
Congratulations to the team on a win over a quality opponent. (The Pirates won ten last year and returned the bulk of their skill positions for 2014.)
It will be interesting to see how the Georgia Bulldogs elect to attack the Gamecock defense. Will the temptation of trying to exploit the work-in-progress that is the Gamecock secondary tempt Georgia into de-emphasizing its rushing attack?