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From the Student Section: Western Carolina vs South Carolina

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

With the 44-31 win over Western Carolina, the South Carolina Gamecocks are bowl eligable in head coach Will Muschamp’s first season. It was a sloppy win on senior day but a win is all that matters.

Big day on the ground

The Gamecocks scored a season high 44 points in the win. That number was reached because of the dominance in the run game. Rico Dowdle ran for a season high 226 yards with a pair of touchdowns. AJ Turner also racked up 97 yards after only totaling 66 in the previous four games. WR Deebo Samuel added two touchdowns on a pair of sweeps in the red zone and QB Jake Bentley also had a good day on the ground with 34 yards on five carries. He did not have his best day through the air (14 of 23 for 154 yards) but the pass game was not necessary. Against an FCS team, owning the line of scrimmage should be the minimum requirement, the offense certainly did that today.

Worst defensive performance

To go along with scoring the most points of the year, the Gamecocks also gave up the points on the year. Racking up 236 yards rushing, the Catamounts became the first team to crack 30 points against the Gamecocks this season. For an FCS Team that had little desire to throw the ball (18 passes to 43 runs), that is very poor. It is something that has happened often this year but it is something that has to be improved heading into Clemson and the looming bowl game.

Special teams highs and low

Senior Elliot Fry had a perfect final game at Williams-Brice. Fry was 5 for 5 on PATs and a 3 for 3 on field goals. Those three field goals were the only points the Gamecocks scored in the second half, helping put the game away. WR Deebo Samuel took back a kick mid-way through the first quarter to answer Western Carolina’s first touchdown. The low-point on special teams was when Western Carolina’s Detrez Newsome ran a kickoff back in the fourth to cut the lead to ten.

The Verdict

The sixth win is big for the program as getting back to a bowl game was one of the main goals of the season. Sitting at 2-4, many thought the team was dead in the water, but guys stepped up and it was a total team effort, from the seniors to the freshmen, to get to six wins. The bowl talk can wait a week though, the most important game of the season is on Saturday as the Gamecocks travel to Clemson.