With Coach Will Muschamp announcing Jake Bentley as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, another era has been ushered into Williams-Brice. The true freshman played admirably in his first career start, completing 17 passes for 206 yards and a pair of scores, both of which were on perfectly thrown balls. But despite this performance, you have to remember that it’s UMass we’re talking about, who have won a grand total of one game. How much will that impact his play against Tennessee? There’s no way to completely predict it, but that is certainly something to think about.
Overall, it was a good team win against UMass. The run game had success all day, with both David Williams and Rico Dowdle getting a lot of touches. Deebo Samuel proved that he can be a versatile and effective weapon. Even the offensive line didn’t look half bad, something that was a pleasant surprise.
Defensively, Chris Lammons and TJ Holloman both came down with one interception each, and two fumbles were forced as well. Unfortunately, UMass still outgained Carolina in terms of total yards, and managed to score 28 points despite the turnover woes they suffered. That is cause for concern, as that’s the most points the defense has allowed all season. Whether that is indicative of what will happen next week or not remains to be seen, but it is not a good look to nearly blow a twenty-point lead in the fourth quarter, which is exactly the kind of situation Tennessee will take advantage of.
The upcoming Tennessee game will be a real test of the improvements that Coach Muschamp has made in his first season. If Jake Bentley does look good again this week, I think it’s safe to say that South Carolina finally has it’s quarterback. If not, it could be back to the drawing board to find a competent signal-caller. After all, the quarterback situation is the most important, and finally having a consistently capable one will go a long way.
P.S.: Let’s have a moment of appreciation for what Perry Orth has done for the program. The feel-good story seems to be over with McIlwain and Bentley in the fold, but he did become a leader in the locker room and on the field, and will forever be etched into Gamecock lore as the Publix grocery-bagger turned SEC quarterback. So thanks Perry, and we at GABA wish you all the best.