This might have been the most beautifully played football game in a while for the Gamecocks.
Offensively and defensively they couldn’t be stopped, and it was exactly what this team needed prior to next week’s date with Alabama.
I wish I could give shoutouts to the whole team, but that’s sadly not the way this works.
Here are my game balls for this week two victory.
Offensive Game Ball: Ryan Hilinski
Was there truly any doubt that I was heading in this direction?
After being thrown into the fire following Jake Bentley’s unexpected week one injury against the Tar Heels, Hilinski handled the pressure better than anyone I can imagine.
Prior to getting taken out two drives into the third quarter, he completed 24 of 30 passes (including his first 12 passes thrown at the collegiate level!!!) for 282 yards, two touchdowns (one of them being a gorgeous dime to Bryan Edwards for 60 yards), and one interception, although the interception looked more like a miscommunication considering the ball was thrown right into the hands of the Charleston Southern defender.
If that wasn’t enough, he took his only rushing attempt four yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter.
He undoubtedly had a performance to make the fans excited and perhaps even give some hope for next week’s MUCH tougher game against the Crimson Tide.
Hats off to the Gamecocks’ quarterback of the future.
Defensive Game Ball: R.J. Roderick
It was very tough picking a recipient for the defensive game ball — not because no one showed out, but because almost everyone made a play.
Whether it be Kinlaw starting the game on the right foot with a sack, one of many defenders recording tackles/a tackle for loss, or giving credit to many guys on the defense that kept the Charleston Southern’s quarterback in check, R.J Roderick had the interception to add to his stat line.
In a game where South Carolina used their depth, Roderick simply had the prettiest stat to go along with two tackles.
Defensively, a handful of guys left their mark on this game, but Roderick made the play (although it occurred when the score was 35-3... the game went downhill quick).
Honorable Mentions: Literally anyone who ran with the ball and Bryan Edwards
As a team, the Gamecocks averaged 13 YPC, and that includes Harris’ 147 yards, Denson’s 118 yards, Dowdle’s 87 yards, etc.
Basically if you received a handoff today, you padded your stats enormously.
It was also great to see guys like Denson and Harris, being behind Dowdle and Feaster on the depth chart, receive their couple seconds of fame with each busting out long runs ending in touchdowns.
And now there’s Bryan Edwards...
He played how many thought he would, now in his senior season.
Edwards has had flashes in past years, but he took over today and was one of Hilinksi’s favorite targets, bringing in five receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
His game didn’t stop with receiving either, with him taking a carry for 15 yards.
Overall, this was a very satisfying win for the Gamecocks with a lot of positives to go around. I wouldn’t hate to see this kind of success carry over to next week and future weeks.