Grading The Gamecocks Against Furman

Saturday South Carolina picked up a 41-10 win and moved over .500 to now 4-3 on season, so here’s where we take some time grading the Gamecocks against Furman.  We all love to play Monday morning quarterback, and what better way to do that than to break down each part of the game from yesterday.  Fortunately we aren’t just grading the first quarter as they got off to another rough start and the game could have easily been tied late in the quarter.  The second half was a totally different story as the defense surged and the offense rolled along.

Rushing Offense – This was by far the best part of the game, and maybe the season, for the Gamecocks.  It started right from the first drive and was great all the way till the end.  They used a trio of backs, not having to overwork any of them, yet all three having very good days.  Mike Davis kicked things off and had a fabulous stiff-arm play for a touchdown on the way to 18 carries for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns.  From there, David Williams took over and had a tremendous day with 11 carries for 110 yards.  Shon Carson came in to close it up, and also almost had 100 yard day as well, finishing with 7 carries for 85 yards.  Seriously these three guys looked pretty awesome didn’t they?  Overall Grade: A

Passing Offense – Well if this was just about Dylan Thompson and the receivers, it’d be almost perfect, but it’s not.  Dylan looked very good and finished 14-22 for 262 yards and 2 TDs.  Really the only blemish on this unit was that Furman (an FCS team remember?) was able to get in the backfield and finished with four sacks on the day, which is ridiculous.  It doesn’t seem as though the Gamecocks have used the same offensive line even twice this year, which hurts their ability to play well together.  For the first time this year, South Carolina played with more than one quarterback, and hopefully they won’t ever have to do that as neither Perry Orth nor Connor Mitch looked very good.  Some of it wasn’t their fault though, as they had little protection to help support them.  Overall Grade: B+

Rushing Defense – Wow, not even sure what to think here.  Furman was an FCS team who after the middle of the second quarter was playing from behind, yet still managed over 200 yards rushing against their SEC opponent.  This cannot happen against anyone, especially this team.  If I am Auburn, I just load up the line and dare the Gamecocks to stop me.  Overall Grade: D- (only reason not an F is one play was 60 yards so it skews the yardage a little) 

Passing Defense – They looked much more aggressive, and was able to take advantage an cause three turnovers, and nearly had a few more.  Held Furman to only 85 yards, and definitely made it difficult for them to do anything here.  Still not nearly enough pressure on the quarterback though  Overall Grade: A-

Special Teams – one of the most solid games of the season for the Gamecocks here, and Elliott Fry continued to be solid although pretty easy kicks after the backups failed to get into the endzone.  Not too many chances for returns here considering the turnovers and lack of scoring, so few opportunities here.  Regardless, this was all great to see after watching the Vanderbilt game.  Overall Grade: A

Overall, a solid win against a much smaller team, but nothing spectacular.  The rushing offense definitely gained some confidence as they continued to play stronger.  However, the game also raised huge concerns for the rushing defense and ability to protect the quarterback.  With Auburn coming up this week on the road, these two areas have to get fixed this week or it will spell trouble.