FIVE POINTS: South Carolina 23, Wofford 13 -- Not as bad as it looked

Fivepoints2008sat_medium
1. It's Wofford. We might need to resign ourselves to using that phrase the same way Georgia fans say, "It's South Carolina." We all remember the 27-20 near-miss of 2006; fewer of us will recall the unspectacular 38-14 win in 2001. (After which one of my friends said, "I was just at the stadium, seeing all of the reasons Florida is going to kill us next week." Which happened, but that's beside the point.) True, it's still an FCS team, but Wofford was ranked No. 12 in the FCS coming into this game. There's a reason some of the players who saw action in this game will sit next week against UAB; there FBS teams worse than Wofford, and the Blazers are probably one of them.

2. "Oh" is for offense. All of our worst fears about the offense returned this week, especially the turnover bug, which hit Chris Smelley hard. Aside from his the fumble and two interceptions, Smelley's numbers were good. And aside from the start of the Middle Ages and the onset of societal disintegration, the Fall of the Roman Empire wasn't all that bad.


vs Wofford / 9.20.08 Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds TD Rush Yds Avg TD
Chris Smelley 23 33 69.7 204 1 7 17 2.4 0


Don't forget the two sacks that are mixed in there and actually detract some from his rushing numbers. For all the criticism Smelley takes on his mobility, he had a couple of good runs Saturday. He wasn't the only one. Brian Maddox, Mike Davis and Eric Baker all ran for around 50 yards as the Gamecocks rolled up 172 rushing yards.

But while the Gamecocks outgained Wofford in total offense, they still didn't do so by a substantial margin (91), and it didn't show up where you would most like it to -- on the scoreboard. And while Joseph Hills had a couple of nice catches, none of the would-be No. 2s for Kenny McKinley really played a big role. (Jared Cook 4-48 yards; Moe Brown 3-31; Dion LeCorn 3-22.) The most successful passes were short screens to Mike Davis; that won't work against SEC defenses, and didn't against Wofford after the Terriers adjusted.

3. Defending the option. The Gamecocks didn't do horribleterrible here, but weren't exactly All-Stars, either. They allowed 185 yards rushing by the Terriers; then again, Wofford ran for 290 yards in the 2006 game. So, the defense overall held up pretty well. There were two big plays: a 50-yard TD run by QB Ben Widmyer to give the Terriers a 7-3 lead in the second quarter and a 52-yard strike from Widmyer to WR Justice Joslin to set up the tying FG early in the third quarter. If the offense scores, say, 42 points, there aren't that many concerns about allowing 13.

4. The Garcia Era begins? It looks like that's where we're headed. It was surprising that Stephen Garcia didn't see the field against Wofford on Saturday, but UAB would be as good a time as any to see what the troubled redshirt freshman can actually be THE SAVIOR OF THE PROGRAM!!!! that many fans expect. Then take it game-by-game. As Spurrier said, we know what we're going to get with Chris Smelley. It's time to find out if we can get anything better.

5. What does it mean? In the larger scheme of things, the results Saturday just mean we won't have answers to any of our questions until at least October 4, when the Gamecocks go to Oxford to take on the Rebels. Unless South Carolina loses to UAB, in which case all bets are off. The team showed again this week why it's not going to win the SEC title this year -- but you already knew that.

It's Wofford. Nothing new here.

GRADE: C-
You can't completely discount a win -- but this was about as unimpressive a win as you can have. Of course, the offense could have been hiding something, playing it close to the vest before SEC play begins. But why bother after playing Vanderbilt and Georgia? More likely, it's just more of the same: Good defense, mediocre offense.

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