David Cloninger

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: USC vs. UMass

Game Balls: Top USC performances against UMass

Carson Mason awards game balls to some of the top performances in South Carolina's win over UMass.
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Carson Mason awards game balls to some of the top performances in South Carolina's win over UMass.

THUMBS UP

Jake Bentley

The freshman sparkled in his first game, throwing two touchdowns on perfect fade routes. He also smartly directed a game-clinching drive.

Rico Dowdle

Another freshman with a big day. Dowdle had 87 yards on 16 carries, none more important than 11 yards on third-and-4 at the end.

Deebo Samuel

That’s what a healthy hamstring can do. Samuel led the Gamecocks with 106 yards on eight catches.

Bryson Allen-Williams

Nine tackles, 2.5 for loss and a sack. The junior had the big plays that were missing from his resume.

THUMBS DOWN

Defense

No adjustment to the same plays UMass was running. Constantly lining up eight yards off a guy and acting surprised when he catches nine passes for 94 yards?

Special teams

Another dropped punt. And a bobbled snap on a PAT in what became a six-point game.

Conservation

The Gamecocks were up 27-14 and kept calling the same first-down runs up the middle. The gas pedal wasn’t inoperative; it was just unused.

Crowd

Noon kick, State Fair, 1-6 opponent … no matter. It was so quiet late that UMass’ cries of “Pass!” on USC pass plays were audible in the lower bowl.

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