To be completely honest, this game went just about how I expected it to if not better.
I think the conversation should more so be about how dominant Georgia looked as opposed to how inept South Carolina is.
Some fans may be upset because the Gamecocks couldn’t “hang in there,” but the truth is that they weren’t supposed to. The expectations set by oddsmakers were for the Cocks to lose by 31.5 points, and USC surpassed that.
No matter how ugly things were at times, I had the mindset that this was going to be a game about silver linings, not domination on either side of the ball. There were some things that were done well at times and more things done not so well, but this game was a much needed slap in the face and a quality learning experience.
There are many opportunities to be angry with this squad, but I do not believe this should be one of those occasions.
On that note, I would like to say no game balls will be given out, BUT there will still be recognitions because, like I said, that is what this game was about.
Offensive Game Ball: N/A
The offensive line gave Luke Doty no time to throw, and that’s kind of impressive when you have a quarterback as mobile as him.
The run game was nonexistent as well, and the receivers were having a very difficult time getting open against a Bulldog defense that many view as the best in the country.
The only time the offense really showed anything when Georgia’s starters were in was on a 61-yard bomb from Zeb Noland to Josh Vann when they caught the Bulldog defense sleeping on the first drive.
Things got better down the stretch, but I’m not going to go crazy talking about players doing well against back-ups.
Defensive Game Ball: N/A
I actually thought the front seven looked impressive.
They did a great job with getting pressure on JT Daniels, but the secondary couldn’t take advantage of that. It felt like Georgia’s receivers were simply quicker than the corners. Even when Daniels didn’t have much time to throw, there would always be someone wide open for a big gain.
The big play was what separated Georgia from South Carolina in the beginning of the game before the Cocks started giving the Bulldogs short fields to work with to start the second half after back-to-back turnovers.
Excluding the secondary, there were flashes of brilliance in the game, but no one that was consistently fantastic who was deserving of a game ball.
Honorable Mentions: Jabari Ellis, Kingsley Enagbare, Josh Vann, Jalen Brooks
Ellis and Enagbare were part of the reason the game was so close for a bit as they were doing a quality job at putting some pressure on JT Daniels.
On Georgia’s fourth drive, both of them got in the backfield on a 2nd and 7, splitting a sack and forcing a key punt that I thought could have turned the tide, especially after a drive that ended in a pick the last time the Bulldogs had the ball.
Another big play was when Georgia was looking for points before the half and Ellis had a clutch tackle for loss on Kenny McIntosh to push them out of field goal range. Yes, Georgia followed that up with a beautiful punt that turned into a South Carolina safety, but at least the defense did its job.
As for Josh Vann, he has separated himself as USC’s best receiver by a pretty wide margin.
He was definitely a bright spot on an offense that was having a a rough night as he racked up 128 receiving yards and a garbage time touchdown on three receptions. Big plays were rare for the Gamecocks, but Vann was the one making them during those few instances.
I wanted to end this article on a high note by talking about Jalen Brooks and that catch he had. It’s no secret he’s been a pretty big disappointment so far after all kinds of hype surrounding his name since the transfer, but at least he showed a flash of talent with this insane grab.
He was definitely getting a mention no matter what even if he didn’t do anything else all night.
This game was about silver linings, and that play is definitely something that we can smile about!