With South Carolina football’s 37-35 win against the the Missouri Tigers in the books, it’s time to grade the Gamecocks.
There’s not much you can knock Michael Scarnecchia for. He’d hardly ever played, and in his first meaningful action, he goes out, hits 20 of 35 passes for 249 three touchdowns and 145.2 rating, plus leads the team on a game-winning drive.
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Granted, the defense probably could key on them a little bit, but it was a rough day. Rico Dowdle and Ty’Son Williams combined for 104 yards on 36 carries. They missed some chances to break big runs after running into blitzed. Plus there was at least one crucial drop mixed in there.
Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards seemed at times to be trying to pick up the backup quarterback throwing to them. They were fighting for balls, fighting for yards after catch, diving for the goal line. The pair was excellent, give or take two drops, and Shi Smith chipped in 32 yards to boot.
The edge blocking had a lot of issues, which short circuited a few drives. K.C. Crosby was also game, but played with a club that functionally eliminated his use as a receiver. Of course, Kyle Markway came up with arguably USC’s biggest play of the game, a 27-yarder to set up the game-winning kick.
On a day when South Carolina probably needed to impose its will and run despite the defense knowing it was coming. It did not do that. The front did keep Scarnecchia mostly clean.
It wasn’t exactly bad, but it wasn’t all that good up front. Bryson Allen-Williams made a few plays. Rick Sandidge had a nice stop. The starters were mostly quiet production-wise, but the backups did OK. The Tigers did find a lot of success on the ground.
The tackling left a lot to be desired, and the defense got gashed for 6.2 yards per carry. The grade is lifted up by Sherrod making one of the biggest plays of the game with a pick-six on a busted screen play.
This group held prolific passer Drew lock to an 83.7 rating, 204 yards on 36 passes and picked him off twice. Yet it had enough issues the safety spot was constantly rotating to find someone who could hold it together, and Keisean Nixon got pulled several times after bad plays. There were some awful tackle attempts from last-line-of-defense players, though there were some young bright spots led by Jaycee Horn (four pass break-ups)
There was a lot of good. Parker White was 3-for-3. Several players broke nice returns to create field position. One save by the holder on a field goal was particularly nice. But there were two completely blown punts, and they set up nine Mizzou points that really could’ve swung the game.
South Carolina was not in a good spot, down its starting quarterback. It seemed to be letting the game slip away around halftime, but fought its way back in. The Gamecocks were all sorts of sloppy and let a nine-point lead slip away. But they came away victors despite a bad hand.