As expected South Carolina struggled with I-AA Wofford and didn't pull away until late. Though many expected the Terriers to give the Gamecocks a run for their money, few expected USC's offense to have as much trouble as it did.
In years past the difficulty South Carolina's offense has had against option teams is a lack of possessions with which to produce points. This year, USC had 8 meaningful possessions scoring two touchdowns and a field goal. The offense turned the ball over on two possessions as well.
Those turnovers were early, killed promising drives and made the game much closer than it needed to be. They also seemed to influence the offense the rest of the game. Carolina was more conservative throwing the ball, especially staying away from throwing downfield. The result was an unproductive and constipated offensive attack. Happily USC has developed enough offensive line talent to impose a rushing game on the Terriers. Kenny Miles's career high rushing total is evidence of that.
The defense, on the other hand, was magnificent. The difficulty in preparing for a sophisticated option attack cannot be understated. I, along with many other fans, dread playing these teams because of the unique attack they employ. The defense allowed a single touchdown. Those 7 points were the fewest scored by Wofford in 3 seasons.
D.J. Swearinger seems to get stronger by the game. He recorded 12 tackles, one for a loss, forced fumble and recovered a fumble. Akeem Aguste also recovered a fumble and returned it to seal the game.
Some people will look at the 24-7 score and think how unimpressive it looks. That's not the point. There is nothing impressive to be accomplished from beating a I-AA team. If it's close, then people assume you're not too good. If it's a blowout, people assume the I-AA team is not good. Rarely is there much to be gained.
The Gamecocks finished undefeated at home for the first time in 25 years. USC has now won 11 straight games at Williams-Brice as well. Steve Spurrier is now tied for the most wins in a career as a South Carolina coach with 64. There was a lot to be celebrated, but beating Wofford just doesn't generate much of a celebratory feeling.
South Carolina needed a team that wouldn't fill up the injury report, and for the most part they got one. They are now 9-2, which used to be an unrealistic goal. Now it seems like it's being taken for granted. Clemson is on deck this week, and for better or for worse, it looks like this year that game will go a long way toward defining this season as successful or not.
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