COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Gamecocks started off the 2018 College Football season with a 49-15 win over instate opponent Coastal Carolina. The Gamecock are now 1-0 on the season and will face conference rival Georgia this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Gamecock quarterback Jake Bentley was 22 for 29 for 250 yards and four touchdowns through the air. The Gamecock offense did a good job of spreading the football around as 11 different receivers had catches on Saturday. Shi Smith led the Gamecock receivers in yardage, catching four passes from Bentley for 61 yards. Senior Deebo Samuel had the most catches with seven for 56 yards and a touchdown. The Deebo Samuel touchdown catch was an impressive one as the senior from Inman made a one handed catch and got a foot down in the end zone before going out of bounds.
The Gamecocks also rushed the ball with some success with Rico Dowdle leading the way on the ground for the Gamecocks with 15 carries for 105 yards and one rushing touchdown. Dowdle also had a receiving touchdown in the contest. Ty’son Williams also looked good running the football for the Gamecock carrying the ball 11 times for 82 yards.
Defensively, the Gamecocks were led by TJ Brunson who had six tackles and Bryson Allen-Williams who had four tackles and an assist.
A lot of folks are quick to point out that, “It was just Coastal” and “The Gamecocks SHOULD blow them out,” and I agree with that. They absolutely should. I would also like to point out for those that don’t remember, just a few short years ago this Gamecock football team lost to the Citadel. This is a Gamecock team that many times plays very tight games and even loses to “inferior” opponents. Is this a great win for the Gamecocks? No, it’s not. It is a good win. This Carolina team did what they were supposed to do and blew out a team that they were suppose to blow out. That hasn’t always happened in Gamecock Football history.
I thought there were a lot of positive takeaways from Saturday’s game. For one, the team looked healthy. It was good to see all three running backs get some playing time and look pretty good while they were in the game. Deebo appears to be back to the place he was before last year’s injury setback. I also liked the pace of the offense. They were quick to the line and got plays off. I thought the play calling was a lot more creative than it was last year with McClendon at the helm of the offense now.
Some negatives. They Gamecock defense was unable to come away with any takeaways. To win games in the SEC they will have to be able to create some turnovers. Also, the defense only managed three sacks. They will be playing bigger and better offensive lines in the coming weeks and will have to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
It’s not fair to thoroughly judge a team based on one game. The Gamecocks had a pretty good game Saturday but there are areas that need improvement. They will need to improve quickly because this Saturday the Georgia Bulldogs will come to town.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg. He can be reached at [email protected]