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