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South Carolina at Vanderbilt: Game Balls

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The weather was bad, but the results were good!

South Carolina v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

I thought the Gamecocks played well! No glaring issues on any side of the ball, and mistakes from past weeks got fixed. Tackling was better, there were less drops and the offense wasn’t run through Shi Smith.

The thing is, USC only played Vanderbilt. The matchup may have only made it look like things were fixed. We’ll see next week when the Gamecocks welcome a seemingly cold Auburn team to Columbia.

Nonetheless, the Vanderbilt game was everything we thought it was going to be: something to get hopes up, something to help the team experiment and a way to get into the win column.

Yes, celebrate for a little, but don’t take this dub for anything more than face value.

Let’s get to the game balls!

Offensive Game Ball: Kevin Harris

On a day where the offense was hitting on all cylinders (for the second half), I still thought giving Kevin Harris a game ball was a given.

This may be contradicting what I previously said, but Harris ran for 177 yards and scored two touchdowns! Whether it was against Vanderbilt or not, that’s one hell of a feat.

Anyway, Vanderbilt is still a member of the SEC, and doing that against a conference opponent makes his performance valid in my mind.

He completely dominated the Commodores all afternoon and went on this beauty of an 88-yard rush in the process.

The Cocks seemingly have a running game to complement a passing game that’s looked good through three weeks as well.

I can see Harris winning this award many times this season.

Defensive Game Ball: Ernest Jones

I typically like giving this award to players who create turnovers, but the interception and fumble recovery happened when the game was already decided. Those were just plays to stuff the stat sheet.

The guy who came to play when the game mattered racking up a sack and three tackles for a loss was Ernest Jones.

He was making things hard for Ken Seals, and it felt like he lived in the backfield, effortlessly tearing through that offensive line.

Jones also had that big sack when Vanderbilt went for it on fourth down on the Carolina three yard line, protecting a three point lead at the time.

On a day where the whole defense came to play, I thought Ernest Jones was the star.

Honorable Mentions: Nick Muse, Dakereon Joyner

I was happy for these two.

Nick Muse finally played like the guy we thought he was going to be in the offseason, leading the team in receiving yards with 85 of them.

He made the big plays the week after dropping them in the last two weeks when he had some chances to really make a splash.

If he keeps playing like this, Shi Smith won’t be alone in the receiving department.

And then there’s Dak.

I was wondering where he was these first few games, and he decided to blow onto the scene in this one taking a reverse the distance in an impressive 45-yard rush, blowing by their whole defense.

His speed and explosiveness is something this offense could use, and I’m glad they finally found a way to involve him in the action.