Obviously, it's best not to read too much into games like yesterday's dominant win over FCS foe Coastal Carolina, but I did think the affair went about as well as it could have for the Gamecocks. First of all, while I expected our offense to put up big numbers against a Coastal defense that struggles against Big South competition, I wasn't as optimistic about our defense. Coastal has some nice offensive weapons, and I thought they might have some success against us. That didn't turn out to be the case, though, as the Gamecocks, despite sitting several players due to minor injuries, completely shut down the Chants. Coastal didn't get anything going until the score was already 42-0. I take this as further evidence of an improving defense, which is good because we'll need a good defensive performance to beat Clemson next weekend.
The second great thing about yesterday was that we were able to rest several players who are nicked up. Several players sat, and Spurrier began rotating in the backups in the second quarter, allowing many of the starters to rest during the second half. We're remarkably healthy for this time of the year, and we'll be even healthier after this weekend heading into the big showdown against Clemson.
Offensively, a couple of things caught my eye. First of all, while he didn't stay in the game very long, Connor Shaw looked much more like his old self. He was more mobile, showed the burst that he's not had since the Tennessee game, and threw the ball pretty well. Dylan Thompson also looked really good, although I expect Connor will get all the snaps against Clemson.
The other player who stood out to me on offense was Brandon Wilds, who saw his first action since an injury against Central Florida. Wilds looked really good running the ball, and I'll be disappointed if he's not the second-string back against Clemson. I love that Shon Carson has done well with his opportunities in recent weeks, but Wilds is simply a much better player.
The only bad thing that happened on the day, of course, was that Ole Miss wasn't able to pull off the upset over Mizzou and help us get to Atlanta. We'll have to hope that Texas A&M will have more luck. I was optimistic about Ole Miss's chances, but after watching that game, you really have to give Mizzou credit. Other than against us, they've been a pretty dominant team. It wouldn't surprise me if they wrap things up against TAMU next weekend, and if they do, they'll have certainly earned the division title.