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Game Balls: South Carolina Gamecocks - UMass Minutemen

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Bentley and others shine in Gamecocks’ 34-28 win on Saturday afternoon

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

After a much-needed victory and the offense scoring season-high 34 points, there are plenty of game balls to go around following the Gamecocks’ 34-28 win over UMass on Saturday afternoon...

Jake Bentley

C’mon. Who else would get the first honor?

After two weeks of debate and analysis, the highly-touted true freshman started under center for the Gamecocks on Saturday. And he didn’t disappoint.

Bentley finished 17-26 for 201 yards, 2 TDs and zero turnovers. Man, were those two throws to the end zone pretty.

With the Gamecocks’ QBs only having thrown 2 TDs all season, seeing Bentley direct the normally-stagnant offense down the field in the first half was a thing of beauty.

To the cherry on top of Bentley’s fantastic debut? The four-star prospect engineered an outstanding, clock-killing drive to end the game - complete with gutsy throws and a scramble.

Brandon McIlwain

With all the media attention, it would be easy (and almost understandable) for Carolina’s other freshman QB to be less than happy with his demotion.

Alas, McIlwain shined in his backup, situational role on Saturday. By all accounts, he looked to be incredibly supportive of Bentley in his debut.

Though I wasn’t a fan of throwing McIlwain in on third down, as I really didn’t think it was fair to him, he was able to convert several third-downs when his team desperately needed them.

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

K.C. Crosby

Yes, he only had one catch on Saturday afternoon.

But scroll back up and re-watch the 6’1 227 lbs. tight end completely lay out for that for that TD. Just awesome.

Rico Dowdle

All Dowdle did was tote the rock 16 times for 87 yards and 1 TD. That’s 5.4 ypc for those keeping score at home.

The Asheville native has given the Gamecocks what they’ve sorely missed since Brandon Wilds’ departure - a hard-nosed runner who isn’t afraid to run straight up the middle and take on tacklers.

Other Standouts

  • WR Deebo Samuel: 8 catches, 106 yards. 2 rushes, 31 yards.
  • WR Bryan Edwards: 3 catches, 42 yards, 1 TD
  • RD David Williams: 15 rushes, 69 yards, 2 TDs
  • LB Bryson Allen-Williams: 9 tackles, 1 sack, 2.5 TFL
  • CB Chris Lammons: 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FR, 1 INT

Jake, how do you feel about your first game ball?