On Saturday afternoon, the South Carolina Gamecocks put a product on the field that once again frustrated fans for a half of football. Fans complained about busted coverages. They complained about the pass rush. The complained about the offense. The final score did not actually represent how well the defense played.
The defense caught a bad break when Pharoh Cooper muffed a punt that UCF recovered on the Gamecocks 1 yard line. It’s tough to stop a team from scoring when they have 4 downs to get in the endzone from 1 yard out. UCF did score a touchdown on that next possession that gave them their first lead of the ball game.
With the offense struggling to put points on the board, the defense came back out and watched UCF march down the field to score another touchdown that brought the lead to 14-5 in the second quarter. This set the Twittersphere into a frenzy, and I’m sure fans that paid money to witness what was happening weren’t too happy either. I like to call this a point in the game where we fans let out a “collective sigh” because it’s something we have seen just far too often.
If we’re being honest, this was really the only bad drive the South Carolina Gamecocks defense allowed all game. Sure there was busted coverage. Sure there were some throws into the flats due to the crazy cushions the corners were giving receivers. The defense was able to stop and get the UCF offense off the field though when they needed.
Even more importantly, the Gamecocks may have finally found a couple of playmakers that to help out Skai Moore who has been doing it all so far for the defense. T.J. Holloman stepped up and intercepted two passes along with collecting 6 tackles including 1 for a loss. Boosie Whitlow also forced himself into the discussion for a starting defensive end spot after collecting 4 tackles including 2 for a loss and a sack. He also was responsible for getting a safety in the first half.
Finding these playmakers and watching other players step up and start to make tackles and plays couldn’t have happened at a better time for the Gamecocks. This was a team that seemed to be deflated, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Much like the offense (possibly more), they needed to find a spark, something that could ignite them and give confidence and momentum.
That’s exactly what they got. The Gamecocks travel to Columbia, Missouri to take on their newest rival this weekend. Missouri lost to Kentucky last week and continues to look beatable. The Gamecocks hope that the spark they found against UCF will lead to a fire that Missouri can’t put out. Kick-off is at noon and will be televised on the SEC Network.
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