Watch: Ryan Hilinski celebrates first win as South Carolina quarterback
The kids got to run the QB show for South Carolina on Saturday.
The Gamecocks turned the keys over to Ryan Hilinski, a true freshman, and Dakereon Joyner, a redshirt freshman. USC overall got more that 700 yards of offense against an overmatched Charleston Southern in the 72-10 win.
It’s worth a closer look at how the South Carolina staff eased in their new starter and worked in a second-year talent.
SC 30, 1&10 — Got things started with an RPO screen. Hilinski read an inside linebacker who stayed in the box, and Bryan Edwards gained 9.
SC 39, 2&1 — USC ran screens to each side of the field. Rico Dowdle picks up decent yardage on the swing.
SC 49, 2&5 — Hilinski isn’t most known for his scrambling, but after not quite hitting a receiver out of his break, Hilinski moves, resets, fires a sidearm pass to Shi Smith, who sat down in the zone.
CSU 36, 2&5 — Another RPO. Hilinski hits a nice, easy hitch against off coverage.
Drive end: Rico Dowdle 3-yard TD.
50, 1&10 — Hilinski goes through his progression, gets to the tight end curl over some underneath coverage. Pretty good throw, though the play ends in a fumble.
Drive end: CSU fumble recover
SC 20, 1&10 — A quick out under a deeper pass. Solid toss that was pretty safe.
SC 32, 1&10 — Works though a progression, passing up what looks like an out to the right and a tight end in the middle. Ends up with a swing pass that gets yards mostly because of Tavien Feaster’s skills.
SC 35, 2&7 — Quick out under a deeper route. Solid, safe throw, and Markway makes a little extra at the end.
SC 43, 1&10 — Progresses through the quick out, dumps off on the swing pass. Feaster makes more yards.
CSU 4, 1&G — Keeps on the zone read and just smashes it in. Took a little pop.
Drive end: Hilinski 4-yard rushing TD
USC was going fast on the first drive and went a little extra faster on the third.
S32, 1&10 — Another hitch off the RPO. Just taking what’s there. Got hit by a free runner and landed on.
S41, 2&1 — Quick out off an RPO. CSU was loading the box and he again just took what was there.
50 1&10 — A bubble screen out of a quads look. Blocking was so-so. Shi Smith gets a few yards.
Drive end: Joyner 6-yard TD run
S39, 1&10 — Off a big play-action, tried to hit Edwards on the post. One of those balls where it’s a little more in front, TD, but it gets broken up.
S39, 2&10 — Play-action with a quick dump in the flat. There’s a lot of space and Markway gets 9 yards.
CSU49, 1&10 — USC goes under center with a single back. Hilinski has three options on the roll, a streak on the outside, a tight end in the flat and Joyner on an intermediate out-breaking route. Hilinski lofts a pass to a mostly open Joyner. It’s a bit high and he can’t hold on.
CSU, 42 3&3 — Against a defense with one safety in the middle and corners dropping, Hilinski attacks a flat combo with a deeper slant to his left. The ball is out before OrTre Smith fully clears the linebacker and Smith has some solid yards after catch.
CSU10 1&G — Hilinski gets heavy protection off play action. The receivers to the left run what looks like it will be a pair of hitches, but after a beat, the inside receiver (Shi Smith) breaks out and Edwards runs a slant over the top. Shi Smith clears the linebackers and the touchdown pass was on time to Edwards.
Drive end: 10-yard TD pass to Edwards
SC 40, 2&8 — USC runs a nice play-action off their sweep look. Every route is deep, and Edwards got behind the corner, far behind the corner, and the safety was nowhere to be found. A 60-yard TD for Edwards.
Drive end: 60-yard TD pass to Edwards
CSU 29, 1&10 — The Gamecocks came out in a heavy, under-center set. There’s a lot of protection with three receivers attacking a little deeper. Ball on a somewhat open post was high.
CSU 29, 2&10 — An RPO screen to Josh Vann. The box looked pretty open and the edge defender is dropping toward the screen. Unclear what happened here.
CSU 29, 3&10 — Hilinski operates out of an empty set. Hilinski stays to his right, can’t get a ball deep and throws a high ball off the hands of Markway.
Drive end: Parker White hits 47-yard field goal
SC 18, 2&6 — With two defenders and two receivers to the left, just a simple swing screen. It helped the inside linebackers both blitz and one safety drops into the box later. Good numbers for Rico Dowdle, and he breaks tackles.
SC 32, 2&7 — There’s a bubble screen to Hilinski’s left, a smash concept (outside hitch paired with an inside corner) to the right. There’s a ton of space on that hitch, and Hilinski hits it cleanly.
SC 36, 3&3 — Hilinski puts a swing pass into the flat and Feaster only gets a couple yards.
CSU 48, 2&3 — USC comes out with four receivers split out. On an RPO, Hilinski hits a pop pass to Bryan Edwards, who gets shoved by a linebacker but comes free for a 24-yard gain.
CSU 24, 1&10 — Again out of an empty set, Hilinski got time. He mostly worked a two-man combination to the wide side of the field, hitting Josh Vann on a comeback route. Vann then broke a tackle and got a few more yards.
CSU 5, 1&G — Hilinski puts a fade ball a little too far for Edwards.
Drive end: 5-yard Rico Dowdle TD run
CSU 29, 3&6 — Out of an empty set, Hilinski looks to the three receiver side and hit Markway, who just sat down in the zone.
CSU 13, 2&5 — USC rolls Hilinski out of a pistol look, where he drops the ball off to Nick Muse in the flat. Muse takes the short pass and almost makes it into the end zone on a leap.
Drive end: Kevin Harris 1-yard TD run
CSU 41, 1&10 — Out of a tight 2-by-2 set, Hilinski looks to be trying to hit a short crosser. An overload blitz has a corner coming in unblocked. The pass wobbles and sails and is intercepted.
Drive end: Charleston Southern interception
CSU 48, 2&7 — Joyner comes out with two tailbacks and runs a zone read with one runner crossing. He keeps, gets great blocks from Rico Dowdle and Bryan Edwards and then slips/jukes two tackles.
CSU 6, 1&G — USC tries a naked bootleg with a back in the flat. A blitz from the boot side makes it hard and Joyner has to scramble for no gain.
CSU 6, 2&G — USC breaks out something Spurrier used with Lorenzo Nunez and even Bruce Ellington. There’s trips to the wide side, and the back fakes that way. Then the QB, Joyner, runs sweep to the boundary. Works like a charm and there’s nothing but space as he races into the end zone for a touchdown.
Drive end: Joyner 6-yard TD
SC 43, 1&10 — Joyner hits a tight end on a quick screen off an RPO. A missed block ended up with no gain.
Drive end: Mon Denson 57-yard TD run
SC 49, 1&10 — USC ran what amounts to a modern tripled option. The outside corner stuck with a receiver out wide and Joyner took the six yards that were there.
Drive end: Kevin Harris 45-yard TD run
Overall the Gamecocks had Hilinski throwing a large number of screens and RPOs early on, and even his deeper shots came with heavy protections. It remains to be seen if those tactics will be as effective against an SEC defense, especially Alabama this week, but it made sense to give a first-time college QB that measure of support in Game 1.