USC Gamecocks Football

Breaking down every Jake Bentley pass vs. North Carolina

Jake Bentley after UNC: ‘I’ve got to play better’

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley talks to reporters after Gamecocks'24-20 loss to North Carolina on Aug. 31, 2019.
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South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley talks to reporters after Gamecocks'24-20 loss to North Carolina on Aug. 31, 2019.

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley had an ugly game against North Carolina, plain and simple.

His 142 yards passing were one of his lowest totals ever. He got picked off twice gunning for game-winning plays. He admitted afterward he thought there were multiple chances for go-ahead plays.

So it’s worth breaking down each pass he threw for answers.

Drive 1

SC 27 1&10 — The back motions to an empty set. Kyle Markway picks off Bryan Edwards’ defender and he catches a drag route in space for a quick 7 yards.

SC 34 2&3 — South Carolina floods the left side of the field with bodies. Bentley dumps off to Dowdle, who cuts back against a defense that flowed too hard and gets 16.

NC 15 2&7 — Dakereon Joyner runs a jet sweep; this is basically a handoff.

NC 15 3&7 — The offensive line gives up a free runner before anything opens. Bentley does well to escape a sack. His pass on the run to an open Edwards was a little high and is dropped.

Drive 2

SC 25 1&10 — Bentley works through his progression with a lot of protection, he throws a swing pass to Joyner, who is running orbit motion. The pass didn’t quite lead Joyner, but he shakes a tackle anyway and gets 4.

SC 49 2&5 — Only three receivers are running routes. He has to wait a while, but eventually hits Josh Vann coming back for 5.

NC 34 1&10 — On play-action, he tries to hit Jay Urich sitting down in a hole in the zone, but the defensive back just gets there. Urich probably needs to come back to the ball a little more, though it is also a tough play by the defender.

Drive 3

NC 36 1&10 — Out of an empty set, a nice and easy pass to Shi Smith on a bubble screen.

NC 36 3&10 — Pressure up the middle forces Bentley to scramble, he pulls up and throws to Bryan Edwards, who is slightly behind the defense. The pass is too far and he doesn’t get as open as he appeared to be when it was thrown.

Drive 4

SC 34 2&6 — On a run-pass option, Edwards gets open on a slant. A safety walks into the throwing window, so Bentley puts it over him but so high Edwards would need to get full extension to maybe get it. The ball goes off his hands and Edwards takes a hard shot.

SC 34 3&6 — The line does a solid job against a more exotic blitz, but no one is really open. A pass pulls the receiver short of the sticks, but a personal foul on the line gives USC a first down.

SC 49 2&10 — Bentley has a clean-ish pocket, but no one open and backside pressure forces a scramble. Eventually just throws it away.

SC 49 3&10 — Shi Smith shakes loose on a corner post and Bentley finds him with a dart. Maybe his best toss on the day.

NC 25 1&10 — On an RPO, Bentley hits a short hitch in the flat for four yards as the safety comes up and sticks the receiver.

NC 19 3&4 — Something goes wrong on what looks like a quick toss to the boundary off an RPO. Bryan Edwards is open on the backside dig, but as Bentley turns that way, two pass rushers get to him.

Drive 5 (just before halftime)

SC 25 1&10 — Bentley hits Tavien Feaster on a quick swing screen. Blocking is decent and he fights through tackles for 7.


Drive 6

S45 1&10 — Bentley has a lot of time but doesn’t try to put the ball over a defender to an open Edwards on a curl. After pressure arrives, he dumps it to Shi Smith, who should lose a yard, but instead works some magic for 5.

S50 2&5 — Bentley is getting pressured from the start. He just grounds it at a receiver’s feet to avoid a loss.

S50 3&5 — South Carolina looks to be trying to fake a screen left and then throw one right. Issues catching the snap mess up the timing, and the defense badly sniffs out the second screen for a loss of 4.

Drive 7

NC 40 3&14 — Penalties put USC in a bad spot. Bentley stands tall against the rush and hits Kyle Markway on a skinny post. He gets inside a linebacker and has enough space before the safety can come up. Pretty nice play.

NC 22 2&7 — A pass rusher comes up the middle nearly untouched. Bentley barely avoids a sack, is going down as he puts a pass behind an open Shi Smith. That pass is dropped.

NC 22 3&7 — South Carolina goes to an empty set. Two defenders jump at Bryan Edwards and Markway is wide open for the touchdown.

Drive 8

SC 48 3&20 — Bentley hits Shi Smith on a deep hitch. Generally an OK pass in a very bad spot.

Drive 9

S45 3&5 — Out of a tight set, the outside receivers come in, seemingly aiming to pull in the edges of the defense. A swing pass goes to Feaster who is open, but the defense flows to him and it takes some surge to make it fourth and inches.

Drive 10

SC 25 1&10 — Shi Smith gets past a linebacker and inside the safety. The window is there and Bentley just misses him.

SC 23 3&12 — A defensive tackle runs over center Hank Manos. Bentley is wrapped up maybe two seconds after the snap.

Drive 11

SC 23 1&10 — Bentley works through through his progressions, targets Edwards on a drag and puts it too far in front of him.

SC 23 2&10 — Out of an empty set, UNC does a good job on the three-receiver side. There’s a free runner and Bentley is flushed. He scrambles for a few yards.

SC 26 3&7 — Things are out of sorts with a wayward snap. As Bentley works through the progressions, his line breaks down, with a tackle beating Manos. He is somehow not sacked and heaves to Shi Smith who is open on a coverage bust. North Carolina with a bad pass interference.

SC 41 1&10 — Bentley has Shi Smith open for 4 yards on an RPO, but the middle field safety is coming at him. It looks as if Bentley gets a little aggressive with Edwards coming over on a backside post, but a slanting linebacker flushes the QB a hint before that throw, ending with a scramble.

SC 43 2&8 — Bentley tries a jump ball fade out of an empty set. The pass is too far.

SC 43 3&8 — Bentley has time against an exotic pressure. He overthrows deep while getting hit and the corner races deeper for the pick.

Drive 12

NC 37 1&10 — USC has a swing screen going to the wide side of the field. The backside safety blitzes and the backside linebacker flows toward the screen. Bentley hits a slant on the backside to Josh Vann for 11.

NC 26 1&10 — Out of an empty set, South Carolina misses a massive chance. The threat of Kyle Markway over the middle pulls down the middle field safety. Markway and another receiver running a drag clear out the underneath, and Shi Smith gets inside the safety covering him. He’s open for at worst a pass inside the 5, likely a touchdown, but Bentley, whose feet are being grabbed at by an inside rusher, just misses too far.

NC 26 2&10 — In a three-receiver pattern, Bentley tries a fade to Josh Vann. It’s a little too far. Vann might have a case for pass interference, but the ball is also not really catchable.

NC 26 3&10 — Appears to be the same concept as the first-down play to Smith. The backside safety isn’t blitzing and shoots in to pick off a pass on that post to Markway.

Drive 13 (Hail Mary situation)

NC 47 1&10 — A free runner from the outside and Dylan Wonnum’s man coming inside combine to sack Jake Bentley.

All told, his 142 yards are the third-lowest of his career for a full game, trailing only the Clemson loss and Tennessee win in 2017. His rating of 90.8 was the fourth-worst, trailing only that Clemson game, plus Kentucky and Virginia last season.