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South Carolina vs. Florida: Game Balls

It’s been a while since I wrote a “Game Balls” article with a smile on my face! What a game!

NCAA Football: Florida at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

If anyone predicted what unfolded Saturday night to occur, could you please email me this week’s lottery numbers? Much appreciated.

Most of the college football community, including most Gamecock fans, penciled in this game as an automatic loss. Vegas seemed to agree with that sentiment as well.

Everything wrong with the team through eight weeks magically seemed to disappear for 60 minutes. If I HAD to nitpick, the only thing that annoyed me was how the secondary still allowed the big play. It was one thing that worked for the Gators all night, and it helped them get 10 of their 17 total points in the game.

Now for the positivity.

“South Carolina really needs to fix the penalties!” - Well, there was only one called all game on the Gamecocks: a false start early in the third quarter.

“The offensive line is TERRIBLE!” - Jason Brown had tons of time to throw back there. The offense even totaled 284 rushing yards behind some superb run blocking.

“The run defense couldn’t stop anyone if they tried!” - How does allowing 82 total rushing yards sound? Good for the second fewest allowed all year with the first being Eastern Illinois.

“Can this offense get anything going?” - I could get used to the Cocks dropping 30 points in a half! The offense was booming in all facets.

“Can we limit the turnovers at least?” - USC won the turnover battle 2-0.

At the end of the day, South Carolina played a close to perfect football game against a respectable team.

I have tons of people to recognize for one of the best victories the Gamecocks have witnessed in years.

Offensive Game Ball: Kevin Harris and ZaQuandre White

There was no way I was going to be able to choose one or the other here.

Harris totaled 128 yards on 16 carries (welcome back 2020 Kevin Harris!) and White had 111 yards on 13 carries.

Both backs had averages of at least eight yards per carry and a run of at least 39 yards.

It was also the second best rushing performance against Florida all year behind LSU, which ran for 321 yards.

They both equally contributed to what I would call a perfect night on the ground for the Gamecocks and helped set up scores.

And if anyone was looking for a reenactment of White Saturday night, here ya go!

Defensive Game Ball: Aaron Sterling

There were tons of guys who had quality performances, but there was only one who made *the* play.

With about one minute remaining in the first half, it was still a two possession game, and Florida had the ball.

What once was a close game within reach for the Gators was immediately a pipe dream.

If you ask anyone about the play that completely changed the tide, it was Sterling’s strip fumble that resulted in a Jabari Ellis scoop-and-score.

Sterling, frankly, did not show up too much on the stat sheet, but he may have created the play of the year.

That is definitely deserving of the game ball here.

Here is that magnificent play for your viewing pleasure.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Brown, Josh Vann and Parker White

I’m not even going to lie here to you guys. Before Saturday, I thought Jason Brown was just the next quarterback in line for Gamecock fans to rave about.

He was a no-name FCS transfer who entered the year third on the depth chart. Why would he be good?

Well, I was wrong.

Doty was a dynamic quarterback who couldn’t throw. Noland was an accurate thrower who would rather get sacked than leave the pocket. Brown, in my opinion, is a mix of both (the good qualities, of course).

I was impressed with his pocket presence, seemingly weaving himself out of harm’s way and even scrambling when need be. Additionally, he showed an ability to make some pretty difficult throws (seen below).

Brown’s numbers weren’t godly, but the tools to be a successful quarterback were seen with him.

I really hope he starts the rest of this year and going forward.

Next up is Josh Vann, who was the recipient of the pass above and was Brown’s favorite target.

His numbers have been down before this game as a result of poor quarterback play, but it appears we may be seeing more of Vann because of Brown’s ability to actually get him the ball!

Vann finished with an impressive 111 receiving yards on seven receptions, including a wide-open touchdown.

Last is Parker White, who nailed four kicks on four tries from 39 (twice), 35 and 40 yards out.

For the people who weren’t able to attend the game, it was VERY windy. Making kicks like that on a normal day is difficult enough, but when you have to battle the defense AND the wind, it’s that much more impressive.

White has become the closest thing to automatic for the Cocks, and it’s a shame that he will be moving on next year!

Let’s hope the positivity continues this week at Missouri!