5 POINTS: South Carolina vs. Georgia

Fivepoints2008sat_medium
Having recovering from flinging pillows, remote controls and everything else within reach...

1. The season is not over. After the kind of deflating loss suffered last week against Vanderbilt, it would have been easy for the Gamecocks to mail it in. This team didn't do that. Take away a few dumb mental mistakes, and South Carolina might very well have beaten Georgia. That's not to take away from what the spelling-challenged Dawgs did; you only get credit in the win column if you emerge victorious. But there were plenty of opportunities to fold, and South Carolina didn't. They scrapped and fought and forced Georgia to play all-out until the end. That's the sign of a team rebounding from a tough loss and refusing to give in.

2. Awful refereeing. This had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. I don't think the officiating helped either team, though it might have hurt both of them. Sure, every crew is going to miss some calls and throw some bad or ticky-tacky flags. But this performance was abysmal. A delay-of-game flag against Georgia was picked up because of malfunctioning play clocks. Which is fine. The officials started keeping time on the field. Then, on the next South Carolina drive, they went back to working from the play clocks. And were promptly forced to pick up a delay-of-game flag against South Carolina. They waited until the end of timeouts to review plays, called two penalties "offsetting" fouls even though both were against South Carolina, and generally bumbled around like they were high-school refs called in because of a typhoid epidemic among SEC officials. If nothing else, they provided comic relief.

Refs_medium
'Should we just admit we don't know what we're doing?'

3. Containing Moreno. South Carolina by no means shut down Knowshon Moreno, but they certainly minimized the damage he did: 20 carries, 79 yards, one score. That was part of a defensive effort that, aside from some sloppy tackling and poor coverage that Matthew Stafford thankfully failed to notice, was generally solid. The Gamecocks' defense held the spelling-challenged Dawgs to 252 yards (and technically outgained them) despite being on the field for more than 35 minutes. Stafford completed 60 percent of his passes but averaged just 5.8 yards a pass. There were few big plays for Georgia. The problem was, there were even fewer for South Carolina.

4. Matthew Stafford Fan Club: Gary Danielson, President. I generally like the CBS crew, but I finally understand what those who despise Danielson are talking about. When he gets on a topic, it can be hard to get him off. When Matthew Stafford did well, it was a chance to talk about how great Matthew Stafford was. When Knowshon Moreno did well, it was a chance to talk about how great Matthew Stafford was. When the Georgia defense did well, it was a chance to talk about how great Matthew Stafford was. Listening to Danielson, it could be hard to remember that there were at least 21 other people on the field at any given time. And it came as a shock to realize that sometimes he was talking about a player that wasn't even on the field.

5. Moe Brown catches some. For once, a ball thrown to Moe Brown was not the kiss of death. In fairness, it hasn't always been Brown's fault that attempted passes to him ended in disaster. But, this week, Brown actually caught some passes -- and to good effect.


vs Georgia / 9.13.08 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Moe Brown 7 130 18.6 1

So is South Carolina finally figuring out who the playmakers are? Will Brown and Jared Cook (who had a less-than-stellar day) be able to compensate for the loss of Kenny McKinley and then be able to complement him when he returns? Can South Carolina continue to cobble together one good performance from this receiver and another solid showing from that receiver to keep its offense functioning? The questions won't be answered for sure until the Gamecocks start winning again.

GRADE: B-
I hate giving more than a C for a losing effort, but if you had told me before the game that this would be the result, I would have taken it. This was always going to be a tough game for South Carolina -- Georgia is peaking right now, and the Gamecocks are not. While a win would have been nice, this is about as good a loss as you could have.

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