Although the scoreboard may not have told the same story, South Carolina played a very respectable game against the second-ranked team in the nation.
The Gamecock offense, despite being plagued by drops and red zone troubles, was the focal point while the defense left a lot to be desired.
Here are my game balls for this week 3 bout versus Alabama.
Offensive Game Ball: The Offensive Line
This week’s offensive game ball doesn’t go to one player like usual but five. The portion of the offense that is usually forgotten about deserves all the glory after the game they played.
Although they allowed three sacks on Ryan Hilinski, it felt like those three plays were more like outliers as opposed to common practice.
Hilinski had tons of time to throw, 57 times to be exact, against a capable Alabama defense. They made sure he didn’t have to run around and create something out of nothing too often.
Besides quarterback play, Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster combined to rush for 135 yards on 22 attempts, good for over six yards per carry.
If anything was failing today, it wasn’t the offense, and their success was in large part because of the offensive line.
Defensive Game Ball: Javon Kinlaw
The defense did not have a good day.
Tua Tagovailoa literally set records against this Gamecock defense throwing for 444 yards, which is good for the third most in Alabama’s history (!!!), along with 5 touchdowns. He was also the first quarterback in their program to throw for 444 yards and 5 touchdowns in the same game.
With that information in hand, it is safe to say that no one in the secondary was in consideration for the game ball.
That leads me to Javon Kinlaw and the defensive line.
Kinlaw had a big sack in Alabama’s second possession that had the crowd at its peak volume, but sadly did not record another one in the game.
He finished with four tackles on the day and was an obvious presence on the defensive side of the ball.
Considering the hype that surrounds Alabama’s offensive line, he should be happy with that kind of success on the day.
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Hilinski and Parker White
Hilinski had a day on the field throwing for 324 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a pretty 31-yard pass to Shi Smith to record South Carolina’s first touchdown.
As for the bad, he lost a fumble and threw a pick in the fourth quarter as the Gamecocks were in desperation mode.
He also made headlines beyond football when Gamecock fans held up three fingers to honor his late brother to start the third quarter.
Parker White also deserves a shoutout because he accounted for 11 of South Carolina’s 23 points and was a perfect 3 for 3 on field goals with his longest coming from 48 yards out.
Not even Alabama seems to have a dependable kicker on their roster so it was good to see him hit those big time kicks.
There will be better days for the Cocks but hey, at least they covered the spread.