Remember when I told you in the roundtable predictions that the Gamecocks always find a way to lose and in a way that has to give you the most possible pain? Yeah, I think they found a way to do that last night.
The offense looked incompetent and the play-calling was predictable to the point where a fan could tell you what was coming next.
Also, I can’t be the only person that thinks that McClendon is babying Hilinski with him rarely asking his starting quarterback to throw it beyond a dink-and-dunk. The only time they took risks passing wise was the last drive of the game and, well, that may have been the best the offense looked all night.
The defense held their own as usual.
On that note, let’s get to the participation trophies.
Offensive Game Ball: N/A
No one was deserving.
South Carolina’s leading rusher had 14 yards, and he’s not even a running back.
The offense gave away seven free points, which would have had us winning if it didn’t happen.
Hilinski once again passed for 300+ yards and once again I was surprised by that statistic as he barely completed more than 50% of his passes.
I will fault the play-calling more than I will fault him for this week, though, because I felt he did all he could with the hand he was dealt.
Bryan Edwards also caught 9 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, but that’s just like a day at the office for him.
With the high target share he gets and their reliance on him in this offense, I am more shocked when he doesn’t drop those kinds of stats.
At the end of the day, USC scored 15 points against a Sun Belt team, and they would have been without a touchdown too if it wasn’t for desperation mode.
Defensive Game Ball: Ernest Jones
Let it be known that the defense really gave it their all last night.
This Gamecock defense only gave up 13 points defensively and in a night where it felt like they were always on the field because of offensive struggles, they didn’t get tired out either.
This squad limited App State’s leading rusher to 3.7 yards per carry and held the opposing quarterback to 105 yards and an interception.
Speaking of interception, Ernest Jones was a rockstar.
He led the team in tackles and was second in tackles for loss. Jones also contributed a sack to his impressive stat line.
Lastly, he made “the play” with that interception, which was really more him being in the right place at the right time, but hey, I’m sure he’ll take it.
When a defense plays lights out like this, it only hurts more when the offense gives these games away.
Honorable Mentions: Sherrod Greene and Parker White
Greene pretty much had identical numbers to Jones but didn’t have the pick.
He finished with five tackles, a shared sack, and three tackles for a loss, which was good enough to lead the team.
It was nice to see him get behind the line of scrimmage and make App State uncomfortable.
As for Parker White, his kicks accounted for 9 of USC’s 15 total points in this contest. He showed up when his number was called converting on all three of his chances.
Also, he hit a career-long kick from 50 yards out!
That’s all I got for this week. I don’t even want to think about a matchup with Texas A&M yet.