THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN

The State (Sunday) - - Usc Football - BY BEN BREINER bbreiner@thes­tate.com

THUMBS UP

The early of­fense South Carolina played of­fense early ex­actly the way one would’ve wanted. Drive No. 1 was 83 yards in 13 plays, Drive 2 was 84 in six. USC av­er­aged 6.2 yards per play be­fore half­time, 8.1 in the third and 2.3 in the fourth. Jake Bent­ley hit 14 of his first 18 passes.

Deebo gets go­ing South Carolina has a game-breaker in Deebo Sa­muel. His se­nior sea­son hasn’t fea­tured that many big plays, but he de­liv­ered ar­guably his big­gest against the Ga­tors, tak­ing the ball in the shadow of his own goal posts and go­ing 89 yards to set up a touch­down. It was the long­est of­fen­sive play of his ca­reer by 21 yards.

T.J. Brun­son

South Carolina’s de­fense might have strug­gled, but mid­dle line­backer T.J. Brun­son de­liv­ered. He had 16 tack­les, three for loss, a pair of sacks and a forced fum­ble. A.J. Turner

With tail­back starter Ty’son Wil­liams not get­ting a carry and Rico Dow­dle lim­ited, Turner came up with 81 yards on 12 car­ries.

THUMBS DOWN

The blown lead

Not much more to say. South Carolina led by 17 with 16 min­utes to go and found a way to give up three touch­downs and go score­less the fi­nal three times it had the ball.

The tack­ling

The Game­cocks were shorthanded on de­fense, but far too many big plays came when Ga­tors ran through tackle af­ter tackle. UF had 13 runs of 10 yards or more.

The late play-call­ing Play-call­ing is of­ten un­fairly ma­ligned as be­ing too “this” or too “that” when it doesn’t work. South Carolina’s late calls might be an ex­cep­tion. As the lead was slip­ping away, USC ran on eight of 11 plays and man­aged only two first downs. Out­side Turner, USC didn’t have a back av­er­ag­ing more than 4 yards a carry go­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter.

The penal­ties

South Carolina didn’t com­mit that many (seven for 41 yards), but a few were whop­pers. One put a touch­down on the board af­ter a third down stop. An­other, a hold, put the fi­nal Game­cocks pos­ses­sion in a first-and-20 it couldn’t climb out of.

GAVIN MCINTYRE gm­cin­tyre@thes­tate.com

Game­cocks run­ning back A.J. Turner past Ga­tors de­fen­sive back Chauncey Gard­ner-john­son line­backer David Reese II at Ben Hill Grif­fin Sta­dium Satur­day.

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