College Football Analysis: South Carolina vs. Kentucky

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

You’re going to hear a lot of nice things said about a lot of people who played great football. They deserve it.

Mike Hartline played fantastic: 32/42 with 349 yards and 4 touchdowns. Do people still hate him? Is that still a cool thing to do? Is anyone still that diluted in their football acumen that they’re sitting on the couch clamoring for Mossakowski?

Cobb was fantastic as always. La’Rod made himself available in the endzone. Matthews was phenomenal: 12 catches for 177 yards and a fantastic football move to secure a 38 yard touchdown catch and run. That guy is going to make one NFL team very happy next year.

Danny Trevathan continues to press his case for being a super human.

Steve Brown and Randy Sanders made fantastic adjustments in the second half. Do we even really need to play the first half anymore? Let’s just start each game down by 20.

Joker’s play calling was aggressive, featuring 3/3 on fourth down,  and successful even in the absence of Derrick Locke.

There was some bad though. We had some incredibly dumb penalties. We probably missed more tackles than we made. We watched Ricky Lumpkin and Taylor Wyndham try to guard the most explosive young back in the country on wheel routes. Our top running back,one of the most explosive playmakers in the country, was injured.

There were some lucky breaks, too. We recovered both muffed punts in the game. Lattimore didn’t play during our comeback and Jeffery was a little banged up. Spurrier called that incredibly stupid timeout then went for a pass toward the endzone that clinched it for us. That doesn’t matter though. That’s football and in football there are simply winners and losers.

Two winners that certainly need attention but will probably be overlooked are Rock Oliver and the offensive line.

Rock Oliver has been the reason that we’ve been able to mount the amazing comebacks that we have against Auburn and South Carolina. Our players are in great shape. They’re in better shape than their opponents and it shows after halftime. In years past being down by 14 or 18 at halftime would have been penciled in as a loss before the start of the 3rd quarter but this team is different. All during the offseason the players talked about how Oliver’s boot camp was the hardest workout regimen they’ve ever undergone. To be able to come out strong and hit your opponent in the mouth is a luxury not many teams have. Last year Randall Cobb would have been on the bench after that hit he took on the first two point conversion try, but thanks to Rock’s help he stayed on the field and delivered his revenge in the sweetest way possible.

The second group that really deserves some love for this win is the offensive line. That may take a few people by surprise. We gave up as many sacks this game (3) as we had all year up to this point. Our running game, albeit without Locke, was anemic, even out of the vaunted WildCobb formation. However, the offensive line made an impact in the passing game that extended far beyond the line of scrimmage. Obviously, Hartline played great and made some fantastic throws on his own but the line freed up his receivers for him. South Carolina is a defensive unit with an extremely talented line. That front four is usually in the backfield every play disrupting the opposing quarterback which makes the secondary’s job much easier. They don’t have to cover their receivers for as long because throws are usually rushed, but not this game. The O-line contained South Carolina so well our receivers were able to adjust and had more time to get open. When they were open Hartline was sure to hit them with a beautiful pass.

You’re going to read game recaps that spend the entire time praising Hartline, Cobb or Matthews. You’re going to hear praise for the coaching staff and their half time adjustments. You’re certainly going to read about how this is Joker’s signature win and how we finally beat Steve Spurrier. Those topics are all extremely worthy of attention but I wanted to give a shoutout and a little praise to some heroes from the game that aren’t going to get the same kind of love and exposure.


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