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From the Student Section: South Carolina Falls to Georgia

Let’s look at some observations from the student section.

NCAA Football: Georgia at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

So, when I graduated from USC, I passed this weekly post on to one of our new writers that is also a student at USC. However, he is slammed with school work this week so y’all will have to put up with me writing this post again for the time being! Today I’ll discuss our overall improvement as a defense, Rico Dowdle’s emergence, and the incredible showing by our fanbase yesterday afternoon.

Return of the Goon Squad? Georgia ran for 336 yards on 50 carries. That’s good for 6.5 yards per carry, and isn’t exactly indicative of a good defensive performance. However, on the flip side, the Gamecock defense only allowed Jacob Eason to complete 5 passes, constantly pressured the Bulldog QB, and also came away with a timely turnover. The defense wasn’t pretty at times, but let me throw another quick stat at you. Two of the three touchdowns Georgia scored on offense (we’re excluding the onside kick return here) were drives of 40 yards or less. Georgia only had one scoring drive of 70+ yards, and that was their first drive of the game. Was the defense perfect? No, absolutely not. Did they leave some plays on the field? Yes, no one here is arguing that fact. But, the defense, once again, played well enough for us to win. If we can ever figure it out on offense we’ll be a dangerous team.

Dowdle Rising: Rico had 7 carries for 30 yards, and 3 catches for 10 yards to go along with his first collegiate touchdown. Are those eye popping numbers? Nope, not at all. But he did seem to be our most effective back on Sunday afternoon, especially when it comes to running in-between the tackles. With an offensive line that is struggling, I think it’s imperative for us to have a powerful back on a every down basis. This is not a knock against AJ Turner, I think he is a fine runningback with a great skillset. But I do believe he is best used in a scat-back or change of pace role. Rico needs to be the feature back going forward. Maybe they’re cautious with him since he’s coming off of a sports hernia, but after the bye week I’d be surprised if he carries don’t increase exponentially. (Oh, and hold on to the dang ball, kid!)

Gamecock Fans Show Up: If there was one thing I was worried about playing on Sunday (all of the other, more serious stuff aside for a moment), it was that we’d lose our home field advantage. That wasn’t the case at all. The announced attendance was roughly 77,000 and, while I don’t think quite that many butts were in seats, it was a fairly raucous environment, all things considered. We certainly lost to a worthy opponent Saturday afternoon, but it’s not because the fans didn’t show up. (Special shoutout to the student section, as they were fully engaged the entire way).

Thank You: To all of the state troopers, county and city police, first responders, National Guardsmen, and all others I may be forgetting, I want to say thank you. The work that all of you did in response to Hurricane Matthew last week should be commended. You guys often find yourselves in a thankless profession, and I just want you to know that we appreciate everything you did and will continue to do.

That’s all for this week, folks.

Go Cocks, beat Bye Week!