Southern Mississippi @ South Carolina
Columbia is super jacked at the start of the game, and the anticipation of carrying out the expectations this edition of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Southern Miss coming into a rowdy environment creates a lot of pressure early and holds SC to a 3 and out. Southern Miss runs a form of the spread offense and seem content with dumping the ball off to receivers on short passes and screens and the recievers have to work for their yards. This comes with some success early. The offensive line holds up to the pressure that SC brings, but a deflection of a pass over the middle ends in a Holloman interception at the SC15. South Carolina takes the ball on a long penalty filled drive, including three SC false start penalties. Marcus Lattimore had his first rush as Gamecock. The drive ends as Garcia scrambles to the 5 then takes a hit, spins into the endzone for a touchdown.
Steven Garcia 22 yard run 5:43
South Carolina 7-0
USM finds a South Carolina linebacking core falling down on the job, in letting Morris get wide open over the middle for a 55 yard gain. The drive stalls as Davis, the QB bobbles a snap and has to fall on it at the Carolina 15, and USM settles for three.
Hrapmann 33 yard FG 1:23
South Carolina 7-3
The USM pressure has started to wane, as Lattimore gets two more carries. There hasn't been too much bad in South Carolina's game but one thing that troubles me is bad clock management. Garcia is set to run a play everyone is lined up, but Garcia is confused or just plain looses track of time as the first comes to an end.
Garcia throws a ball just outside of Jefferies reach, which could have resulted in a long gain. South Carolina has a long drive thanks to a huge gift of a 3rd down holding penalty in the secondary that gives Carolina a first down. Drive ends on a Lanning FG.
Lanning 36 yard FG 11:57
South Carolina 10-3
USM goes 3 and out on two incomplete passes and a sack. Carolina takes good field position and reels off the most important play of the game. USC catches Southern Miss completely off guard with a reverse to Ace Saunders. This is the first misdirection play of the game and it goes for 52 yards to the 10. This play took the wind out of the USM sails as well as the beginning of Spurrier opening the playbook and showing the diversity contained within. This is not a vanilla offense, but there is a lot that can be done with South Carolina's personnel. The drive ends in Marcus Lattimore's first touchdown of his hopefully long and storied career.
Lattimore 3 yard run 9:48
South Carolina 17-3
USM answers with the worse offensive effort of the game. Three and out, and Carolina takes over looking to put a nail in the coffin. Carolina brings Connor Shaw into the game as a WR to block for Gilmore. South Carolina marches down for another Lattimore touchdown run.
Lattimore 7yard run 7:03
South Carolina 24-3
USM starts another drive dinking and dunking to the recievers. Davis's longest pass on the drive was 12 yards. Davis could pass Farve in many categories and if this is their offense I am willing to bet attempt and completions are two categories in that list. The drive stalls at the Carolina 19, where Hrapmann hits a field goal.
Hrapmann 36 yard FG 1:58
South Carolina 24-6
Connor Shaw comes in for his first series in college football. He is not afraid to take off if he doesn't see what he is looking for downfield. It is reminiscent of Garcia's first days at the helm. Palmer makes a great point on commentary as he notes that Shaw has composure not seen too often from Freshmen QB's. Southern Miss brings the dogs but when the pocket collapses Shaw doesn't take the sack but keeps moving upfield. Once again USC has issues with clock management, in letting the clock run out while possessing the ball at the USM 33.
USM starts the second half with a three and out. Garcia takes the ball and barely overthrows his receiver in the end zone. Southern Miss forces Carolina to punt when a very telling penalty ensues. Southern Miss has an illegal participation penalty. This penalty shows that the coaches are not organized and the players heads are not in the game at this point. When I played on high school and the punt team was supposed to go on the field I knew it was my time to run out there because I paid attention to the game. I also knew when someone else was to go in for me. Carolina cashes in on the mistake with a Lanning field goal.
Lanning 42 yard FG 9:35
South Carolina 27-6
After another USM three and out, Carolina advances the ball with a Garcia 46 yard pass to Jeffery. Garcia makes a heads up play once at the goal line. Garcia runs and gets POPPED and shoved backwards from the goal line however as he gets hit he extends the ball into the end zone and after a review it is ruled a touchdown. It is a moment that may not be repeated against better defenses, as better defenders would see the ball and swipe it from the quarterback's grasp. As it is, its a nice way to cap off a 92 yard drive.
Garcia 3 yard run 4:43
South Carolina 34-6
Southern Miss takes the ball and drives down the field, reaching the USC28 as time expires.
Southern Miss's 70 yard drive ends after VJ Floyd fumbles at the USC17, and Slaughter returns it for 54 yards. Connor Shaw comes in to lead the 29 yard drive, capped with his first TD pass to DL Moore.
Shaw 15 yard pass to Moore 11:19
South Carolina 41-6
Both teams seem to have lost life, as has the crowd. The teams are working to melt the clock. USM has two drives end on downs. Tampa Freshman Andrew Clifford comes in and throws his first pass which is intercepted. He ends the game with a -200.0 passer rating. USM's bright spot is Young who comes in and moves the ball down the field for the final score of the game.
Young 29 yard pass to Brown 1:33
South Carolina 41-13
In another slightly less important bit of clock management Southern Miss lets the clock roll on the game even as they drove to the SC10. Not fully knowing what to expect with South Carolina this was a pleasant surprise. Coming in I could see everything from dropping the game to a blowout. I know some of the result is due to USM's inept offense, which could not muster much in the way of scoring.
Player of the Game
Usually the best stat producer should go here, but the theme that ran throughout the game was where USC is going. I am giving the award to Lattimore and Shaw who come in and make big contributions, even if their numbers aren't overly impressive, in their first game.
14 rushes, 54 yards, 2 TD
4/5, 32 yards, 1 TD
16/23, 193 yards
4 rec, 65 yards, 1 TD