Neither the Gamecocks nor the fans found any joy from the team’s performance last Saturday afternoon.
South Carolina took perhaps one of its most disappointing losses of the Shane Beamer era, dropping a not so competitive game to Florida by the score of 38-6.
The Gators were able to exit the Swamp with bowl eligibility and revenge from last year’s thrashing in Columbia. On the flip side, the Gamecocks (the Gamecock fans, really) were able to leave with... likely assurance that Marcus Satterfield’s days remaining as the offensive coordinator are numbered?
The USC offense made one of the worst defenses in the SEC look like the opposite, and the run defense woes continued, but hey, at least the special teams performed well!
Not much to say in terms of positives with this one, but South Carolina does have a big bounce back opportunity this Saturday night at home against Tennessee.
Time for some grades.
Offensive Grade: F
When the only touchdown of the day was thrown by your punter and he had more passing yards than your starting quarterback at the half, it’s safe to assume the offense did not perform well.
Now let’s add on the fact that the team’s leading receiver was the player on the receiving end of said pass thrown by the punter.
And if you thought the offense couldn’t get much worse in the second half after three drives out of four ended in punts, you would have been wrong like the rest of us!
Three out of the first four offensive snaps in the second half resulted in fumbles, which is ball security unlike anything I have ever seen before (in a bad way).
And listen, I’m happy the team listened to us when we said get Jaheim Bell the ball, but this whole Bell at tailback experiment has not been working.
Additionally, following a few quality performances by the offensive line, we are back to Spencer Rattler running for his life whenever he drops back to pass.
Like I said prior to the loss, Florida was surrendering 32 PPG to conferences opponents, and the Gamecocks couldn’t even manage to kick a field goal?
It was a complete embarrassment on this side of the football, but on the bright side, it can literally only go up from here.
Defensive Grade: D+
The only reason I’m not giving the defense an F is because of how it responded after the first three drives.
Did the Gators finish with 374 rushing yards? Yes, and I can’t believe that number is even real, honestly.
Did the Cocks allow two separate 100-yard rushers? Also yes.
Did Anthony Richardson have more rushing yards than passing yards at the half? Yup.
Did Trevor Etienne score on an 85-yard run? Sadly, that happened.
BUT what I liked was the fact that the Cocks had only one weakness. A very obvious weakness, to be fair, but when you look at how they fared against the pass, I felt much more hopeful.
Richardson completed less than 50% of his passes and threw for only 112 yards.
It can be argued that Florida was going with a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality with its play calling, but when they did end up passing the ball, there was not much success to be found in that department beyond the first few drives.
The Cocks also adjusted well in the second half, only allowing 14 points, with one of the touchdowns coming on a drive that commenced at South Carolina’s 12-yard line due to a fumble and the other one coming with just over six minutes to play when the game was already decided.
In all, the defense did throw the game away in the first quarter, but I will give credit for the unit’s response to its terrible play early.
Special Teams Grade: A
The special teams was the only thing keeping Saturday’s performance from being a complete failure.
The squad’s only highlight of the day was a special teams play, a fake punt that resulted in a 48-yard pass and score from Kai Kroeger to Dakereon Joyner.
Beyond that, Jalen Brooks made a nice play on the team’s second punt, forcing a fumble to make Florida set up shop at its own 15-yard line. We don’t have to talk about what happened two plays later.
Cam Smith also blocked a field goal to conclude Florida’s first drive of the second half.
One of South Carolina’s most hopeful opportunities to score points came after Josh Vann returned a punt 37 yards to Florida’s 19-yard line (after a face mask penalty) near the conclusion of the third quarter.
Finally, on a day where the Gamecocks obviously punted a ton, Kroeger booted three inside the 20-yard line.
It was a day full of positives for the special teams. It’s just a shame the other units couldn’t carry their weight.
Overall Grade: D
It was the epitome of a bad game, and it felt painful at times watching what was unfolding, but I did appreciate the response by the defense in the second half and the special teams performance, so I can’t give an F solely for an offensive failure.
There will be better days, and we we cannot let this loss distract us from what has been a semi-successful season thus far.
We moved on from that painful Georgia loss, so we can do it again.
The Cocks now have two chances to go into bowl season on a high note.
The only way to get over a bad loss is to get a great win.