Sunday, October 30, 2011

USC - UT game and Winners & Losers of Week 9

My prediction for this game was far from correct, except that Brandon Wilds would handle the starting job, and handle it well.  This, he accomplished in the first half in my opinion, but through the course of the game he went 137 yards on 28 attempts.  He did have a fumble, but he stayed composed and came out on the next drive and kept pounding it in there.

Connor Shaw had an okay game, I predicted he'd throw for 195 yards on 22 completions / 32 attempts, he didn't even throw the ball 22 times.  He went 10 of 18 for 87 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.  He also had 16 rushes for 64 yards.  He did okay running, but would have had better stats if he had thrown the ball away on a few attempt where he ran out of bounds well behind the line of scrimmage.

Alshon Jeffery was held to 3 catches for 17 yards.  To be fair he was double and triple covered until they realized they had to stop Connor and Brandon from running wild (get it?).

As for Tennessee they should have high hopes for the future.  Their young team will improve, and they'll be back Gamecocks, be sure of it, and next time we may have a much bigger fight on our hands.  Worley went 10 of 26 for 105 yards, no TD's, 2 Int.  Not incredible, not even fair, but for a freshman making his first collegiate start, he showed promise.  He needs to learn to put more touch on his throws and not rifle it in everywhere.  He certainly has a cannon for an arm.

Tauren Poole had 18 attempts for 38 yards.  We successfully held a runningback, and that is where our success started.  If Tauren Poole was allowed to run rampant like Michael Dyer did, this game would be a little different now.

Overall, defense won this game for the South Carolina Gamecocks.  The question remains though, can we continue to rely on our stout defense?

Winners and Losers - Week 9
Stephon Gilmore-
He hasn't shown his ability to play at the level he has been expected to in quite some time.  He HAS played okay, but he showed yesterday his ability to get on the ball and get interceptions as well as shut down the coverage on his assignment.  I like Stephon Gilmore, and if he keeps playing the way he did last night, I expect a first or second round draft pick for him, but his performance last night shows that we as fans, still have something to be happy about for him.

Brandon Wilds-
He came in and performed better than expected, 28 carries for 137 yards.  Those are Marcus Lattimore stats.  Another positive is that he did this at an opposing stadium.  He is ready to fill the shoes of Lattimore, but he'll still be #2 or #3 on the depth chart next season.  Since he is only a freshman though, being behind Lattimore another year or two (I predict Lattimore will stay his senior season now that he hurt his knee) can only help him, and expect him to have a huge season when it's finally his turn.

Andrew Luck-
When isn't this guy a winner?  Oh yeah, Oregon last season....  Oh well, he is still the #1 QB in the league this season.  Trailing closely to him would be Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III.  Last night though, it was the Andrew Luck show, a show in which he threw 29 of 40 for 330 yards, 3 TD's, and 1 Int.  Right now he is 174 of 242 for 2218 yards, 23 TD's, 4 Int's, on the year.  Let's go ahead and give him the Heisman.

Sammy Watkins-
*GASP!* CockyJ how could you do this? You are saying Sammy Watkins is a WINNER? BUT HE'S A TIGGER!!!  Sorry Gamecocks, but he is a baller, and this week he is a winner.  While his team lost (we'll get to that later), Sammy Watkins had 10 catches for 159 yards, and a touchdown.  Yes, I know, he's a Clemson Tiger, but if we can't appreciate our competition and rivals, then what good is the rivalry?

Justin Worley-
Yes yes, I know, his team lost, too.  The simple fact is, that while he had a poor game, it was his first collegiate start and he showed a lot of promise as a QB of the future, they should have kept him on redshirt status, but they didn't.  He'll still be a great QB when Bray leaves.

Clemson Tigers-
You knew it was coming, even if I claimed Sammy Watkins as a winner for this week.  Clemson got its first loss of the season last night against Georgia Tech in a stunning 31-17 outcome.  Tajh Boyd had a good game, despite only having 1 TD and 2 INT's.  Oh well, it was bound to happen, I suppose the sting when they lose to USC in Williams Brice on November 26th won't be quite as bad now.

Matt Simms-
Matt Simms had a chance to lead his Volunteers to a win late in the game, but he could not get it done against the outstanding South Carolina defense.  Had he won this game, he would have been a hero in a new verse of Rocky Top.  Sorry Matt, but not this year.

USC Offensive Line-
The offensive line for USC has always been our Achilles Heel.  If you can't give our quarterback a decent amount of time to get Alshon Jeffery or one of our other receivers the ball, we WILL NOT WIN.  I would suggest a short passing game with quick routes instead of trying to go for a first down every single play.  Alas, I am not a coach, nor am I in good enough with Steve Spurrier to suggest it.  Although the play calling from him was borderline genius last night.

Sure there are plenty more that can make these lists, but come on folks, I need to be able to open and close my hands.

Until next time.
Thanks for reading, check back soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halftime report - USC @ UT

Just updating the fans here at half time.

So far Connor Shaw is not looking incredible, but he does have a touchdown pass that has put the Gamecocks up 7-3 at the half.  Brandon Wilds is looking excellent with the ball, though.  He's broken a couple nice runs, and he's been catching the ball and breaking tackles for nice gains as well.

Bruce Ellington hasn't been used this game yet, but I expect he'll be in a few plays in the next half, but this is a good decision to nurse the hamstring and not put a lot of pressure on Bruce.  Marcus as always is in high spirits and is keeping his team morale up.

Alshon has a minimal influence so far, but had a nice gain on a screen thanks to a nice block by Ace Sanders.  Speaking of Ace Sanders, the only 3 points by Tennessee so far came off a muffed punt by Sanders.

As for Tennessee, as expected, their freshman QB Worley came out struggling but has found a nice groove, and he has been showing his cannon of arm.  He's impressed me some today, and should continue slinging it around, hopefully we can utilize the LG's inexperience and get Clowney and Ingram on him.

Also expected, RB Poole for UT is trying to run everywhere, but what was in doubt, is the fact that we have contained him relatively good considering our rushing defense over the past 7 games.

New article coming after the game with more information.
Thanks for Reading!

Happy birthday, Marcus Lattimore!

Happy birthday to our injured Heisman hopeful!

He turned 20 years old today, and tonight his Gamecocks look to make their record 7-1.  He is also travelling with the team, that would be a great birthday present for the heart of this team!

Good luck Gamecocks, and again, Happy birthday Marcus from GamecockNet!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gamecocks at Volunteers

Point Spread:  USC -6.5

For Carolina, this game is the second of three away games, all three are conference games.  Coming off a bye week, the Gamecocks should prove to be ready for whatever the Volunteers can throw at them.  Needless to say, neither team is firing on all cylinders, though.

Let's break it down...

South Carolina's offense is hurting with the loss of Marcus Lattimore to a season ending knee injury, but with a back up like Brandon Wilds, we should be able to pull through.  Let me say this, Brandon Wilds is certainly no Marcus Lattimore, but is he a capable runningback? Yes.  Will he carry the ball 30 times? Doubtful.  What can he do then, you ask?  He can find the holes, and he can haul ass through them, he can get open, and he can hold on to the ball.  Currently, he has 13 carries for 75 yards which comes to a 5.8 yard per touch average.  He also has 3 catches for 21 yards.  Reason to be happy right? Maybe.

Out of those 13 carries, 3 were against Vandy for 22 yards, 5 were against Kentucky for 45 yards, and 5 were against Miss St for 8 yards.  While the 5.8 ypc average is good, most were gained against weak defenses.  Look at the Mississippi St carries, 5 rushes for 8 yards.  Tennessee and Miss St are just about even in rush defense, (MSU ranked 55th nationally against the run, UT ranked 56th).  So what can we expect, should be the next question.  Wilds has a burst of speed that can get him into the open, expect us to utilize that speed as well as options to keep Tennessee guessing.  He also won't be carrying the whole load since Eric Baker and Kenny Miles are back in the line up.  Time will tell, but I don't see him going over 45-60 yards tomorrow.  Between the three, and Ellington in the wildcat, though, the passing game should open up a little.

Offensively for Tennessee, they start a new QB in freshman Justin Worley, a Rock Hill native that USC failed to recruit in the numerous trips to recruit Clowney and the Dixons.  Are we, as fans, complaining? Nope.  We're happy with our recruits performance so far.  Justin Worley is without the top receiving target in Justin Hunter, but he still has Da'Rick Rodgers to toss the ball up to, are they hurting without Hunter? Sure.  Can they still put up points on South Carolina? Most definitely.  I'm a realist, this game could be very close in the end, as it usually is between USC and UT.  The key to the UT offense this week will be Tauren Poole.  If he can run well enough to keep the USC defense honest, then Justin Worley should be able to settle in and give the USC pass defense a run for its money.  If the USC defensive line shuts down Tauren Poole, then look for Worley to be pressured A LOT.

The Gamecocks enter this game ranked 47th in rushing defense, and as we noted above, they are going to have to shut down Tauren Poole, because when he gets the ball he is going to come right at them, just like Michael Dyer did.

The upside, is that our pass defense is ranked #1 in the nation, allowing only 133.7 yards per game.  So when Worley does look to complete a pass, they will be all over him like white on rice on a paper plate in a snow storm.  The defense also leads the nation in takeaways, sitting at twenty four.  Fourteen of which are interceptions.

Coming into this game, UT is 40th against the pass, and 56th against the rush, 47th in overall defense.  Against Alabama, they kept the game close until the second half, entering that half the game tied, 6-6.  In the second half they got torched by another 31 points, in a 37-6 loss.  Tennessee is not used to being shut down like that, and look for them to try and redeem themselves against the Gamecocks.  I expect them to play lights out, and on good ole Rocky Top, the fans are always raging.

I see the Gamecocks and Volunteers to go through a hard fought battle in the first half, and then, I expect the Gamecocks to persevere as it seems they have done every game this season, shy of Kentucky.

My prediction:
Melvin Ingram gets a touchdown, defense will get 2 INT's, 1 fumble recovery, Connor will throw a decent game going for around 22-32 for 195 yards, 2 TD's, 1 INT.  Wilds gets a touchdown, and Carolina pulls it out in the second half 34-17.

Until next time.
Go Cocks.

The Beginning of GamecockNet

Thank you for visiting GamecockNet.  This is the newest blog for any and all things related to the South Carolina Gamecocks football program.  I'll also be including information on the basketball and baseball teams in the offseason, and if interesting enough, during the season as well.

A little insight to the author of this blog is probably due, right?  Well, for as long as I have loved football, I have been a Gamecock fan through and through.  In recent years, I have began to follow Gamecock athletics intensely, building up a network of sources, and now I have decided to begin my career as a source for other fans.  Whatever the news, you'll find it here.

Thank you for reading, and let the articles start rolling in!