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South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt: Game Balls

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Despite the good, the very good, and the mediocre, I still have some game balls to give out

Vanderbilt v South Carolina Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

This game definitely felt uglier than it actually was.

Like the stats were there, the deficit of victory was there, but it just didn’t seem dominant.

South Carolina only punted on 3 of their 10 total drives, but many of those drives came as a result of interceptions or botched punts.

There was no highlight reel play, just a lot of eh.

Anyway, here are the awards I have to offer after the Gamecocks’ most recent action.

Offensive Game Ball: Bryan Edwards

We all knew where this was going.

Edwards, a future high draft pick in the upcoming NFL draft, caught a school record 14 passes and took those for 139 yards and a touchdown.

He is undoubtedly Ryan Hilinski’s favorite weapon and his dependability in this offense is very similar to that of Deebo Samuel last year and Hayden Hurst the year before after Deebo went down.

Recently, it’s felt like there’s always been “the guy” on offense and this year, that role applies to Edwards.

Hilinski passed for 235 yards, so more than half of those yards went purely to him.

It’s felt like I’ve been praising this man every week so whether I say it one time or 1000 times, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of Bryan Edwards to this football team.

Defensive Game Ball: Aaron Sterling

Sterling did a very nice job in getting to the quarterback.

Him having not one but two sacks impressed me enough to give him the game ball this week because of how much of an issue that has been of late.

Opposing quarterbacks have been feeling way too comfortable ever since the Georgia game and I was ecstatic Sterling was able to bring the pressure with many offensive lines simply opting to put their attention on containing Kinlaw.

Hopefully this will be the start of something and they will continue to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines for the remainder of the season (probably not, though, because this is Vanderbilt after all).

Honorable Mentions: Deshaun Fenwick, Ryan Hilinski, and T.J. Brunson

Fenwick was a surprise I didn’t expect to see today.

I thought the pecking order at running back was Dowdle (injured), Feaster, and then Denson, but it looks like Fenwick might have come out of nowhere and made a name for himself after this one.

He finished with 18 carries for 102 yards and was by far the most effective running back out there today.

With Hilinski, he once again wasn’t flashy, but he has shown again and again that he won’t make that one game costing play.

Hilinski posted a QBR of 92.8 and had a 77% completion rate while passing for two touchdowns.

His touchdown total continues to increase while his interceptions don’t and that is key.

His maturity is already evident. He just has to improve his accuracy and cash more with his risks to take his game to the next level.

Lastly, T.J. Brunson needed a shoutout after this one.

He continues to lead this defense and he is always around the top each week in terms of tackles, which is huge.

He had six tackles in this one and even managed to pick a ball off, which was the first of his college career, so that must have put a big smile on his face.

Overall, this game wasn’t that much a test and if they want to earn back some of that respect they earned after taking down Georgia, they can start by beating up on an Appalachian State team that just took a surprising loss to Georgia Southern.