The Gamecocks came out on top Saturday afternoon against Troy in a victory that was anything but satisfying.
This was supposed to be a morale booster before traveling to Knoxville, but it more so exposed some of the issues that have been plaguing the team all year.
The penalty problem is still present and has not been getting better (10 penalties for 93 yards!), the run defense got gashed again, the offense is still a work in progress and every positive play by the Gamecocks was almost always followed by a negative one.
In a game where the Cocks forced four turnovers (including a pick six), they also gave three back with a Doty fumble, a muffed punt and Jahmar Brown doing his best DeSean Jackson impression by flipping the ball prematurely out of the end zone before crossing the plane.
If I could give the whole defense a game ball for cleaning up every mess created by the offense or special teams, I would, but that would be too easy.
A win is a win, but I do hope better days are ahead and the Gamecocks learned from their many mistakes.
Nonetheless, I have a few players to recognize that made this game a little more bearable.
Offensive Game Ball: N/A
For the third straight week, I just don’t feel comfortable giving props to anyone on this side of the ball.
There were some guys who had their moments like Kevin Harris and Josh Vann, but no one deserving of the game ball.
People may disagree with me here, but although Doty’s numbers looked impressive on paper, I do not think he had a great game.
He passed for 255 yards and a touchdown, but if you were watching the game, the eye test told a completely different story. He was getting a lot of help from his receivers making plays after the catch, padding his stats a bit.
Additionally, he was off target on many throws. The ones he did complete were (mainly) can’t miss opportunities. There were some impressive throws like a beautiful bullet pass to E.J. Jenkins on South Carolina’s first drive, but they were more rare.
The run game also left much to be desired, although it was good to see Kevin Harris start to return to form.
In all, an improvement from past weeks but still a forgettable performance put on by the Gamecock offense.
Defensive Game Ball: Jaylan Foster
I’m going to agree with ESPN’s game MVP choice here and give the game ball to Jaylan Foster.
He was basically the guy that responded by making a play after the offense or special teams had a blunder in some way.
In a one-score game, Foster had a clutch sack on a third down in South Carolina territory where the ball came loose and resulted in a fumble out of the end zone by Brown. The fumble may not have been ideal, but it still got Troy back on their side of the field.
Foster’s next forced fumble came three plays after South Carolina turned the ball over themselves. Once again, it was a one-score game and Troy was in USC territory. After completing a pass to Reggie Todd, Foster poked it out and forced a turnover that would lead to a South Carolina field goal drive.
If it wasn’t for his tide-turning plays, we might have been looking at an upset.
Foster’s interception streak may have came to an end, but his turnover streak is still going strong.
Honorable Mentions: David Spaulding, Kingsley Enagbare, Jahmar Brown
The play of the game was undoubtedly made by Spaulding with his pick six that provided the Gamecocks with points when getting them the old fashioned way was a bit difficult for the offense.
Here’s the clip in case you want to relive it.
Enagbare is another guy that deserves some love because the pressure that he repeatedly put on Taylor Powell created mistakes like this.
He may as well have been paying rent for all the time he was spending in Troy’s backfield.
Lastly, I’m sure you don’t know why Jahmar Brown is on this list for obvious reasons, but he still created the blocked punt, arguably should have had a pick and recovered two fumbles.
A wasted touchdown aside, he helped his team win on Saturday.
It’s just a shame that after all the good he did, everyone is going to remember him for dropping the ball before crossing the goal line.
Next, it’s on to Tennessee for a game that looked much more winnable a week ago.