What. A. Game.
In a victory like this, the whole team deserves a game ball. While that may be true, that would just ruin the fun!
The offense has had better days, but they did what they had to do to get the dub.
The defense surpassed all kinds of expectations that were already high coming off of two great performances (and they must have been running their fair share of Oklahoma drills because they can magically tackle now).
On that note, here are the standouts from one of the most important games for the garnet and black in recent history.
Offensive Game Ball: Dakereon Joyner
* This is where I tell you to finish reading before sounding off in the comments *
Realistically, Bryan Edwards deserves a game ball every week. We have become spoiled from all the good that man has done for this team. This week, though, I want to give a special shoutout to the guy who may have made this win possible.
Joyner completed 6 of 12 passes for 39 yards and rushed for 28 yards on 6 attempts. Pretty pedestrian right? Am I crazy?
While those numbers may not blow anyone away, he was thrown into the fire in the middle of the third quarter and was asked to beat the third best team in the nation.
The defense gave him a seven point cushion and asked him to finish the game. He did.
Joyner isn’t inserting his name into any Heisman race, but he managed the game and didn’t turn the ball over.
He didn’t try to be the hero and force some dimwitted pass into double coverage. He didn’t try to steal any headlines or play like he was larger than life. He did what he was told and he was rewarded with a three point victory.
Joyner met and maybe even exceeded the expectations of a third-string quarterback in this situation and for that, I applaud him.
Defensive Game Ball: Israel Mukuamu
Did anyone expect anything different?
Other than his not one... not two... but three interceptions, he was also second on the team in tackles.
One of his picks put points on the board, another one bailed out the defense on a drive where Georgia looked like they were bound to put up points, and his last pick was... supposed to be a game clincher.
I can’t even remember the last time one player had a hat trick with interceptions. Mukuamu made this selection easy for me.
Honorable Mentions: T.J. Brunson and the RBs
It felt like Brunson was all over the field in this one.
He was third on the team in tackles, with one of them being a beautiful tackle for loss, and he recovered a huge fumble on a botched snap by Georgia.
Brunson’s veteran presence rubbed off on the defense and he was a big reason why they performed as well as they did.
I also want to give some love to Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster for rushing for a combined 107 yards on 27 carries and taking some of the pressure off of Joyner.
The running game worked wonders in this one and without it, the Gamecock offense would have struggled to do anything.