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FIVE POINTS: South Carolina 34, Arkansas 21

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Fivepoints2008sat_medium
1. I want to be Ellis Johnson when I grow up. I'm so glad I was right about Ellis Johnson. Pay no attention to what I've written in the past: In my heart, I knew that Johnson would be the best choice for the job. Okay, so I was wrong. Never have I been happier, though, to be incorrect. The defense clamped down on Arkansas, holding one of the most explosive passing offenses in the SEC -- this is, admittedly, a rather dubious honor -- to 255 yards. Michael Smith? 25 yards on seven carries. On a day when the offense was -- um -- schizophrenic, the defense once again led the way to a win.

2. The rotating QBs. Yeah, let's not do that again. Steve Spurrier's not necessarily backing down, but I'm guessing we won't see quite as much swapping as we saw Saturday. It really didn't work; the combined passer rating for Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia was 119.99, which is pretty mediocre for college football. I'm still not sure what the attraction is; from what I've seen (and granted, I didn't get to actually see Saturday's game), I still think Garcia's the better passer as well as the superior runner. But, at the very least, Spurrier needs to choose one quarterback -- for every possession, at least.

3. K-Mc's night. Kenny McKinley had his best game of the year, passing the century mark in yardage and Sterling Sharpe for a career.


vs Arkansas / 11.8.08 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Kenny McKinley 7 130 18.6 1


It's a shame that the best receiver in South Carolina history won't get an SEC championship. But an Outback Bowl sendoff wouldn't be so bad.

4. The running game survives. It wasn't pretty, but the Gamecocks managed 132 yards rushing, mostly through sheer force of will. They carried the ball 34 times, averaging 3.9 ypc. It's enough to make opponents account for the run, but the rushing game will have to be more intimidating if South Carolina ever wants to be better than third in the SEC East.

5. Rankings, bowls, etc. South Carolina moves to 23rd in the USA Today Poll, 24th in the AP and 25th in the BCS (for whatever good that does us). It might be a brief stay, depending on how respectable the likely loss against Florida is and what else happens next week. But it's still a good place to be to set up the Gamecocks if they can defeat Clemson and win a bowl game. The Outback Bowl still looks good, as long as South Carolina can reach 8-4.

GRADE: B-
Again, it's a win, and a pretty solid one at that. But this team is still missing something and needs to find it for its first nine-win (counting bowl game) season since 2001.