Grading The Gamecocks Win Over South Alabama


After a 37-12 victory Saturday, we are grading the Gamecocks win over South Alabama in each area to see how the game looks on paper.  The Gamecocks put up 454 yards of offense and the defense held their opponent to under 300 yards for the second game in a row.  When you look at just the score and the overall yards, you’d be hard pressed to think this was anything other than a game South Carolina controlled from the very beginning to the very end.  Stats definitely can tell a story, but in this case, these aren’t all the stats you need to look at, and I don’t think anyone on the Gamecocks feel great about this win.

Rushing offense – if you watched this game, did it feel like the Gamecocks rushed for 210 yards and averaged more than 5.7 yards per carry?  I was shocked to see these stats after the game.  Brandon Wilds led the attack with 77 yards and looked good much of the game.  David Williams had 65 yards and some great runs, but also fumbled the ball away once.  Pharoh Cooper had 42 yards all on just 5 carries.  All three of these backs took the snap from the wildcat formation, a play the Gamecocks ran even more than usual.  Mike Davis walked with the seniors, then rushed 1 time for 13 yards and had the ball stripped at the end of the run.  Ultimately, the running game allowed the offense to be very balanced, and if not for the fumbles would have been a good game, but still against an FCS team.  Overall Grade B-

Passing offense – Dylan Thompson plays a lot like Andy Dalton, in which some moments he looks like he could become one of the best quarterbacks of all time with incredible on the money throws, then the next play or series, he throws such errant passes everyone is just shaking their head.  Dylan hit Nick Jones in the end zone and another time threw a pass to Damiere Byrd, both of which were so good Aaron Rodgers would have smiled watching them get thrown.  But Dylan overthrew receivers again, and in one case threw behind his receiver so bad, it went straight to the defense.  Tight end Rory Anderson dropped two passes that should have been caught as well.  The Gamecocks played a ton of different receivers (minus Shaq Roland who might have been benched for last week’s struggles) but Dylan only threw to four of them.  One of them was to Mike Davis, who then proceeded to have his second fumble of the game, and probably didn’t play again.  Dylan did have good time to throw this week though for almost the entire game, except a third and goal in which he had to force the ball after being rushed quickly.  The highlight of the passing game though was probably Pharoh Cooper hitting Dylan Thompson in the end zone for touchdown, as it looked like two kids on the school yard.  Overall Grade B- 

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Rushing defense – the Jaguars only picked up 119 yards rushing and even more so only averaged 2.7 yards per carry.  The Gamecocks stayed very consistent against the run throughout the game, Even without Gerald Dixon in the game, the rest of the line and linebackers worked together to really shut down the Jags from getting many big plays.  However the Jags were able to convert a lot of third downs and they controlled the time of possession because of their running.  Overall Grade A-

Passing defense – The Gamecocks may have been playing an FCS team, but they did still turn in their best performance of the season.  They had 4 interceptions, including a pick-six from Brison Williams, his second of the season, and also two interceptions by Skai Moore who was all over the field.  The defense also had three sacks, the most in a game all season, including one from Mason Harris that caused a fumble recovered by the Gamecocks.  The Jaguars only put up 170 yards, 40 of which came on one play, and only averaged a little over 5 yards per pass completion.  Overall the defense looked good against the pass for the second game in a row.  Overall Grade A-

Special Teams – really not much positive to report here.  After a few good games, this one was reminded most people of Vanderbilt.  Two punts were fumbled, one by Pharoh Cooper proving he is indeed human, and the other form Nick Jones that led to a turnover.  There were almost no return yards of any type.  Probably the only positive was, surprise!-Elliot Fry who was 3-for-3 including a personal best 47 yarder.  Overall Grade C-

If it hadn’t been for the 5 turnovers, this may have been a great performance all the way around for the Gamecocks.  Hopefully they got these turnovers out of their system and the coaches will certainly use this game to help prepare the team for a much bigger game against Clemson.