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What We Learned: Gamecocks Roll the Chanticleers

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The Gamecocks took care of business and raced by the Fake Chickens (see Google’s definition in the hyperlink). Now, let’s break down the win.

Coastal Carolina v South Carolina Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

So our South Carolina Gamecocks looked pretty sharp in their 49-15 victory over Coastal Carolina. The offense rolled up over 500 yards of offense for only the second time under Will Muschamp and the defense kept the Chanticleer offense in check. Here are some of my observations from yesterday’s game.

Jake Bentley looked sharp from start to finish.

One of my frustrations with Jake in the past is that, at times, he seemed to be too juiced up for his own good. He would let adrenaline take over and forget some of his fundamentals. This led to inaccuracy down the field, forcing the ball into coverage, etc. With the season opener at home after a long off-season with more anticipation than we’ve seen around here in several years, I was interested to see how he responded early in the game. Well, in my opinion, he certainly responded the right way. Jake was in control from the word go, spread the ball around, hit his checkdowns and was accurate throughout the game. Jake’s touchdown pass to Bryan Edwards in the 2nd quarter was an NFL caliber throw. He finished 22/29 for 250 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Jake will need to turn in a similar performance next week against the Bulldogs.

Outside of some bad snaps, the offensive line looked very good.

Yes, they did have a couple of protection breakdowns that led to sacks or Jake having to get rid of the ball quickly, but that’s going to happen during the course of a football game. Overall they mauled the Coastal defensive front in the run game and did a great job in pass protection as Coastal dialed up a bunch of different pressures and blitzes. Also, I want to give a shoutout to Rico Dowdle and Ty’son Williams. They looked like bonafide SEC runningbacks as they combined to run for 187 yards on 26 carries.

Update: I have informed that sack(s) were on a blown blocking assignment by the runningbacks. I am here to say, officially, that the offensive line was indeed good all around yesterday.

Will Muschamp hired the right man in Bryan McClendon to run the offense.

I know it was “just” Coastal Carolina and that Coach McClendon and his offense will learn a lot more about themselves this week against Georgia, but so far, so good. This is the most diverse I’ve seen a Will Muschamp South Carolina offense, and I also believe McClendon was fairly vanilla in his playcalling yesterday. That says a lot. The South Carolina offense dictated the tempo of the game, changed tempos effectively, were balanced and had Coastal’s defense guessing for 4 quarters. The biggest vote of confidence I saw was Muschamp’s decision to try to score right before the half. Five plays and 45 seconds later Rico Dowdle scampered for a touchdown off of a perfectly timed screen play from 22 yards out. I think Muschamp’s decision to let McClendon and company try to score and essentially put the game away right before half speaks volumes. Muschamp clearly trusts both his OC and his playmakers to move the ball. After two games, counting the Outback Bowl, of McClendon running the offense I have more confidence in him than I ever did in Kurt Roper. I believe we will have a excellent gameplan for the UGA defense.

The defense was pretty good but has some things to clean up.

While the offense was efficient and moved the ball at will, I don’t think the defense was quite as sharp. Obviously the Gamecock offense is far more experienced right now than their defensive counterparts. Overall the defense did their jobs and only gave up 15 points, 12 of which were scored in the 2nd half as we had started to filter in some more backup players. However, I was disappointed to see our front 7 get displaced a bit in the run game and our defensive backs struggle at times against the passing game. I trust that Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson will get those mistakes cleaned up. Overall though, we will need a much better effort on defense next Saturday against the #3 team in the country.

Clean up the penalties, please.

South Carolina was one of the least penalized teams in the country last season. Unfortunately, yesterday the Gamecocks were penalized 9 times for 99 yards and good portion of that yardage came in the 15 yard variety while the defense was on the field. Will Muschamp described the penalties as “inexcusable” after the game. Once again, Georgia is an excellent team and will make us pay for mental mistakes. We will need to be much more disciplined next week when the Dawgs roll into town.

All that said, yesterday was the most satisfied I’ve been in a while after a season opening game. I think there were a ton of positives to build on and I’m more than ready for the Georgia game. Bring on the Bulldogs.

What are your thoughts on the Gamecock victory yesterday? Be sure to tell us in the comments!

Bonus: If you haven’t already, check out the highlights from yesterday’s game.