Saturday night's game was better than many could have dreamed. South Carolina took an early and commanding lead and pounded Georgia into submission. The only blemish on the scoreboard was a face-saving touchdown by UGa in the waning minutes. The Gamecocks dominated the Bulldogs thoroughly and win 35-7.
South Carolina's performance was a complete team performance. As well as many people played, few out shined the others. Of course there were plays that changed the game. The first that jumps to mind was Ace Sanders's punt return. Ace ran 70 yards through the teeth of the Bulldogs and blew the top off of Williams-Brice Stadium. Brent Musburger then proclaimed, "South Carolina is sending shock waves through the SEC."
Two underrated plays were the catches by Damiere Byrd and D.L. Moore. Byrd stole a game changing interception away from Georgia's safety and set the USC offense in motion. Later in the game D.L. Moore similarly snatched an INT from the hands of a helpless Bulldog to erase any memories of a bad play against Kentucky.
Does anyone think Marcus Lattimore isn't back? If so, they must not have watched Saturday. He's back and just as good as he has ever been. Expect him to continue to get stronger as the year goes on. That same thing could be said for the offense. It's looking good, and it should get better.
Defensively, the Gamecocks looked dominant. Clowney got all of the talk from the announcers, but DeVonte Holloman, D.J. Swearinger and Shaq Wilson all had great games. They played together; they played aggressively; the scheme was strong; the strategy was sound, and it all added up to Georgia's impotence.
It is still a bit premature, but this season's defensive performances prompt the question: is Lorenzo Ward a superior coordinator to Ellis Johnson? It's early, but the answer may be yes. We'll know much more after the last three road games.
Special teams were both good and bad, and the good outweighed the bad. The good was Ace Sanders. His punt return may have been the play that broke Georgia's backs. The bad was kick coverage. For the 6th game in a row, we refused to kick out of the end zone and we were burned by a return to midfield. That needs to stop.
This game almost went to well to say much about it. There's little that needs to be changed and even less to quibble about. Now we know how well South Carolina can play. The question for the rest of the season is, can they continue to play like that? If so, the sly's the limit. If not, then we will always wonder what could have been.
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.