My Quick Slant on the Gamecock Win in Orlando
Some quick thoughts shortly after the Gamecock's victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers capping off a historic 2011 season for South Carolina.
The First half: I thought the defense looked slow in the first half. Maybe it took them a while to get up to game speed but one things for sure they were in another gear in the second.
The DJ Swearinger hit that caused the fumble deep in Gamecock territory in the first half was the play of the game before “the play of the game”. They could have gone down by 11 if not for that play. The Gamecocks couldn't capitalize on the long pass to Alshon after that, but they did flip the field position and that was huge.
I thought the offensive line gave Shaw plenty of time to throw and he should have taken off sooner and ran early on instead of taking sacks. He seemed determined to stay in the pocket as I’m sure he was coached up to do.
Seemed no one was getting open but the referees were letting the Nebraska dbs get away with aggravated assault on the South Carolina wide outs, especially on the replays they kept showing of Alshon getting grabbed on every play.
If not for the Gilmore interception right before the half and poor clock management we would have never seen one of the best plays in Gamecock Football history (at least it felt like it at the time). I don’t want to call it a “Hail Mary” because we have seen many jumps balls to Jeffery in the past but none that I can remember where five other players were in the fray. Connor Shaw did a good job keeping his footing and after Alshon caught it he made sure not to go down before crossing the goal line. Someone watching the game with me reminded me of the Auburn“Hail Mary” in SEC Championship game last year and how it broke the team’s spirit before half.
The Second Half: The Blocked pat return by Gilmore in the first quarter was big and factored in nicely I thought later in the fourth quarter. When they scored early in the fourth the Gamecocks had a 10 point cushion. The entire game I kept thinking about that play. Once they went up by 10 (instead of just 7) I just had this sense that the game was over.
The offense and Shaw looked much more in control in the second half.
Shaw was more decisive throwing and he never looked rattled.
Lorenzo Ward called a great game. I didn't see anything that Ellis Johnson could have done better. Not sure if adjustments were made or not but holding Nebraska 64 yards in the second half is very impressive. His unit took the game over in the second half.
I never saw Alshon do anything to warrant getting kicked out of the game. He pushed Dennard but I still don’t think he threw a punch. The referee must have thought he couldn't throw one out with out the other being tossed too. Terrible call, he should have been flagged but not ejected.
The offensive tackle for Nebraska (#50) kept getting penalties for false starts. I have never seen something like that in all my life watching football.
More: When did South Carolina become the team that wears teams down in the fourth quarter, Nebraska being one of them? South Carolina was by far the more physical team on both sides of the ball.
South Carolina right now isn't in awe of any team they step on the field with. I’m not saying they can beat any team in the country but they are not intimidated by any that’s for sure. That comes from having a Hall of Fame Championship coach and facing the best teams in the nation in the SEC.
I have never seen Steve Spurrier get choked up to the point of tears like he did post game. Never a very emotional guy, it’s safe to say he has a lot invested emotionally in this program.
Just My Quick Slant on the game. Check the site daily this week because we plan on having much more content on the Gamecocks, the Orange Bowl and more.