Chicken & Waffles. Your new favorite dish for all things Gamecocks. Grab a cup of joe and hide your screen from your boss as we fill you in on everything happening in the world of South Carolina athletics. Get your Chicken & Waffles right here, Monday through Friday.
Eyes on the prize
As detailed in Chicken & Waffles on Tuesday, the Gamecocks’ greatest challenge lies ahead in maintaining focus the next couple of games.
The prospect of going to a bowl should be the motivating factor moving forward, not reveling in an upset win over Tennessee.
But how exactly to the Gamecocks buck the letdown trend set by the their predecessors? SEC Country’s own Mike Wilson offers up his keys.
Count me among those most on board with Wilson’s points, especially the importance of running the ball.
While QB Jake Bentley has hogged the headlines, his rise to prominence has coincided with the emergence of South Carolina’s running game. Specifically, fellow freshman Rico Dowdle.
Since his debut against Texas A&M, the running back has averaged 4.9 yards per carry, gaining 291 yards on just 59 carries.
“South Carolina posted its first back-to-back games with more than 100 yards rushing for the first time since mid-2015. Why? Look at No. 23, Rico Dowdle,” says Wilson.
With Bentley being sacked six times against Tennessee, it’s obvious pass protection is still a liability (though the offensive line has really played solid as of late).
If the Gamecocks are to keep the heat off Bentley and give the dynamic playmakers on the outside time to get open, Dowdle and the other running backs must continue their strong play.
Notes from Muschamp’s news conference
During his weekly meeting with the media on Tuesday, coach Will Muschamp touched on a number of topics, including QB Jake Bentley, K Elliot Fry and some unfortunate news re: freshman TE Robert Tucker.
Tucker, a first-year player from Atlanta, had been dealing with numbness in his neck and has ultimately decided to end his football career after consulting with a spinal specialist. He will continue to attend USC, with hopes of a career in athletic administration.
Muschamp discussed Fry approaching USC’s scoring record, preparation for Mizzou and the number of freshmen Carolina’s put on the field this year:
“It’s where we are. It is what it is. I’d rather play a young, talented guy that has a promising future … than play an older guy that’s not as talented. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. That’s where we are right now. That says a lot about the evaluation in a transition year.”
In case you missed it
- The Gamecocks’ punter, Sean Kelly, is up for the Ray Guy Award.
- South Carolina’s youth movement starts with the evaluation process, says The Big Spur.
- From The Post and Courier, when it comes to serving up turnovers, USC now ranks among SEC’s best.
- The Gamecocks have an elite true freshmen trio, according to 247Sports.
- One of Carolina’s standout WR commitments will miss the rest of his senior season.
- The State has eyes on Jake Bentley’s wheels.
Gamecocks have started 7 true freshmen this season – most of anyteam in the country. Bentley, Dowdle & Edwards are 3 of the 7.
— Scott Hood (@ScottHood63) November 1, 2016
A South Carolina fan’s perspective on the playoff rankings:
— Beat Clemson (@BeatClem) November 2, 2016
Coach Dawn Staley with a great tribute to Pat Summit:
— GamecockWBB (@GamecockWBB) November 1, 2016
The women’s basketball team continues their offseason world tour:
— SEC_Tammy (@SEC_Tammy) November 1, 2016
Deebo looking like a terminator here:
— CapTainUno‼️ (@Uno_Captain) October 30, 2016
High praise from Pharoh:
Nastier watching live ?. 23 gone be special. https://t.co/So58Xmp1wY
— Pharoh Cooper (@KingTutt_chdown) October 31, 2016
- Gamecock Central Radio: GCR double dips early this week with two episodes looking back at the Gamecocks’ win over Tennessee. Host Emerson Phillips and Wes Mitchell recap the game and highlight the standout performances from South Carolina’s skill position players. On the other episode, Scott Davis joins Phillips as they take a closer look at the game-day atmosphere and the game’s larger implications.
- Locked on the Gamecocks: JC Shurburtt and Keith Allsep are back at it in an extra-long episode. The two look at the big picture for the Gamecocks: the recruiting boom, bowl prospects and improvement on both sides of the ball.
- GABAcast: Rantin’ Ronda and Sam McDowell return with a full review of the Tennessee game, including top players, keys and turning points.
The non-rev report
- The women’s soccer team takes on Texas A&M in the second round of the SEC tournament Wednesday night — airing live on the SEC Network.
- Vice President Joe Biden visited with the men’s soccer team on Tuesday.
- Men’s soccer celebrates senior night this Friday.
- Beach volleyball’s Shannon Williams went as Gamecock Jesus for Halloween.
Is Tuesday morning dragging you down? Let Gamecock Jesus (aka Shannon Williams) pick you up! pic.twitter.com/M6jUz3cWSa
— Gamecock Beach VB (@GamecockBeachVB) November 1, 2016
Feel good flashback
“The Frisco Kid” Elliot Fry could become South Carolina’s all-time leading scorer on Saturday with two points against Mizzou.
It’s only fitting we salute arguably his greatest play as a member of the Gamecocks — as a freshman, no less!