In the latest installment of a strange rivalry the Gamecocks were able to hold on to a lead and put Vanderbilt away by running out the clock. Like the last two weeks, there were some hot, and not so hot, moments of the game; here's our list.
- Connor-Freaking-Shaw. The senior quarterback ended the game with 21 out of 29 passes completed for a total of 284 yards and 3 touchdowns. This was one of the few games that we've seen Shaw air-it-out the way Steve Spurrier (and us fans) know he can, and because of it we've heard a little more about Connor's NFL stock, which is moving up. He's habanero hot right now, and we hope he's able to keep it going.
- The offensive line! Woah. Was that really just written? Another special mention to Clayton Stadnik who was awarded the SEC Offensive Linemen of the week. The backup center graded out at 87%, and lead the charge of an offensive line that has been very impressive thus far in the season.
- The running game proves to be powerful again. While Mike Davis was not able to roll off another 75 yard play, the running game proved to be more than adequate and piled up 220 yards. While Mike ran hard - and seemed to be itching to get to the goal line EVERY play - a special mention needs to go to Brandon Wilds who showed he is the perfect compliment, and has all the wheels you could ever need.
- Bruuuuuucccccceeee! Wide receiver Bruce Ellington finally had the show we've been waiting to see. His 8 catches for 111 yards and a touch down lead the receiving corps and terrorized the Vanderbilt secondary all game. Also, huge props to Bruce for sticking his head on the line and holding onto his touchdown catch.
- The defense. Yeah, we're going to put the defense in the "hot" category this week because considering the situations they were put in by the special teams, they do not deserve to be in the "not" category. Much like the North Carolina game, the defense was not particularly flashy, but did good work by holding Vandy to under 270 yards of total offense, and held them for an insane 2-12 on 3rd downs. Also, the first five offensive drives for Vandy ended in a punt.
- THE ENTIRE PLAY OF THE SPECIAL TEAMS. Deer God people (insert deer god picture here), get it together. Terrible punting, terrible decisions of when or when not to call for a fair catch, terrible ball handling...The special teams proved to be just that: special. Now, I do not think it was the sole fault of any one player or even the coaching staff; things happen and we just got the short end of the stick several times on saturday. Hopefully, it wont happen ever again.
- Getting gashed up the middle. Good call here by the Vandy coaching staff to draw up the wildcat. It exposed our linebackers more than anything else on the night and was the driving force to the sustained Vanderbilt drives. Ideally our defensive line is able to disrupt these type of plays before they even get started, but we have yet to really see that.
- And finally: the student section. Guys, it's just not acceptable to leave early during our first night game, and second SEC game - especially one that we've struggled during in past years. If we're up, enjoy it! Believe it or not, but there once was a time when the Gamecocks were not winning 10 and 11 games a season. Just stick around.