South Carolina Football: Report card vs. Jacksonville State

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina Football
South Carolina football linebacker Stone Blanton redeemed himself after a game full of struggles with an 88-yard pick-6 to seal the game for the Gamecocks. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Football vs. Jacksonville State:
Grades for the Gamecock defense

South Carolina Gamecocks. DEFENSIVE LINE. C-. The Gamecock defensive line has too many talented players to be as bad as it is. Jacksonville State ran for 225 yards despite their best back (Malik Jackson) barely playing as he was a bit hobbled with an injury. The zone read game (and even the classic triple option game) killed USC at times as the defensive ends didn’t play their assignments well. The defensive tackles didn’t get enough push most of the game, either, but Boogie Huntley, Tonka Hemingway, and TJ Sanders had some nice flashes. The pass rush was also non-existent as the Gamecocks only managed one sack against a below-average offensive line. JSU had more tackles for loss (10-6) and sacks (4-1) than USC even though Carolina’s defense was on the field for more plays. An offensive touchdown from defensive tackle Tonka Hemingway, a JT Geer “I’m-manner-than-you-are” forced fumble, and a few passes batted down at the line of scrimmage salvage this grade a little bit..

C+. Debo Williams was pretty good on Saturday. The rest of the linebackers all had some good moments and some not-so-good moments. Pup Howard had some good snaps early, Bam Martin-Scott and Jaron Willis showed off their athleticism at times, and Stone Blanton had a game-sealing pick-6 on a nice play with two minutes left in the game. There were far too many run fit misses from the unit, but that’s nothing new. The unit got torched a few times with the ball in the air (especially Blanton), but they also made some important plays in the passing game, as well.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. LINEBACKERS

C-. The Carolina secondary was a mixed bag against the “other” Gamecocks. Nick Emmanwori had a really nice day tackling, and the rest of the secondary made some decent plays in the open field. However, Keenan Nelson really struggled over the top in the 1st half while DQ Smith was suspended, and Smith got beaten badly once when he came in, too. Marcellas Dial had an okay day in man coverage, and OD Fortune sealed the game with an interception late. Jalon Kilgore is still being played out of position at nickel, and his absence from the safety position is hurting the team. He’s a fine nickel, but he’s a really good safety. South Carolina could use a really good safety right now. The numbers don’t look terrible, but Jacksonville State is one of the worst passing teams in the country, and they still threw for almost 200 yards while playing two injured quarterbacks.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. DEFENSIVE BACKS

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