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.
What they’re saying across the country about USC
After nearly two weeks of will-they, won’t-they drama, the Gamecocks rolled out true freshman Jake Bentley at quarterback on Saturday afternoon.
The much-hyped quarterback delivered, leading South Carolina to a 34-28 victory over UMass and finishing 17-of-26 for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Bentley’s strong command of the offense, zero turnovers and stellar touch showcased on his scoring throws caught the attention of media all over the country.
— SN College Football (@sn_ncaaf) October 22, 2016
Bentley’s steady play earned him a helmet sticker from ESPN SEC writer Sam Khan Jr.:
The true freshman made his South Carolina debut, starting for the Gamecocks and turning in a solid performance, going 17-for-26 passing for 206 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-28 win over Massachusetts. Not bad for an 18-year-old who should be a senior in high school (Bentley graduated early and skipped his senior year to enroll at South Carolina).
Count Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee among those impressed by the freshman’s debut.
Oh Jake Bentley…that was gorgeous
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) October 22, 2016
You said it, Barrett. Man, what a beautiful throw from Bentley to TE K.C. Crosby for the touchdown.
— Gamecock Athletics (@GamecocksOnline) October 22, 2016
Despite an offensive output that earned the Gamecocks a season-high 34 points, Team Speed Kills remains skeptical of South Carolina. Can you blame them?
So, South Carolina did what they were supposed to do and beat a UMass team that they were supposed to comfortably beat. That didn’t happen which may raise some concerns, though expectations weren’t all too high to begin with in Columbia this season. With that said, we’ll likely find out what they have to offer next week against Tennessee, a team that is banged up and then some going into this encounter.
Vegas seems to question the Bentley-led Gamecocks as well, having South Carolina open as 14.5-point underdog at home on Saturday night.
Game balls, helmet stickers, etc. If you’ve read the box score, you have a good idea about who will take home the honors from the game on Saturday afternoon.
But what I’d like to do is honor those Gamecocks who didn’t have the type of impact that’s visible on a stat sheet. The players who did the little things well and may get overshadowed by their teammates. That is what the Golden Waffle is for.
This week’s recipient…
South Carolina freshman QB Brandon McIlwain.
Just look at that Instagram post. He was benched for senior Perry Orth, then surpassed on the depth chart by fellow freshman Jake Bentley. How did McIlwain respond? By handling the situation with nothing but class, perspective and maturity.
I wasn’t a fan of bringing a cold McIlwain in off of the bench for big third-down plays. I didn’t think it was fair to him to be inserted in under those circumstances without any type of warmup, but the Pennsylvania native played well and came up with several big conversions. The quarterback finished the game with 5 carries for 17 yards.
Not only did McIlwain embrace his role as situational quarterback, he was also acting as Bentley’s hype man — among the first to high five, chest bump or embrace his fellow freshman.
This week’s Golden Waffle winner is an easy kid to root for and the type of player you’re happy to have on your team.
Fast stats & fun facts
- We know it’s been a tough year, but here’s this: South Carolina’s offense now has scored more touchdowns than Alabama’s defense/special teams.
- WR Deebo Samuel’s 8-catch, 106-yard performance on Saturday was just the second 100-yard receiving game of the year for South Carolina
- Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 734 yards against TCU on Saturday. South Carolina’s leading passer, Perry Orth, has thrown for 661 yards the entire year.
- The Gamecocks are now the No. 127-ranked scoring offense in the country with 16.9 points per game, 2 points ahead of No. 128 Buffalo (14.9).
In case you missed it
- The Sunday injury report, courtesy of Will Muschamp.
- From SEC Country’s Mike Wilson, Gamecocks moving forward with Bentley, McIlwain at QB.
- Sidney Rice is honored to be named to Hall of Fame, from Greenville Online.
- According to The State, the Gamecocks lead for 3-star safety Naytron Culpepper following his official visit on Saturday.
- South Carolina recruits weigh in on Jake Bentley at QB.
Every South Carolina fan’s reaction to the Gamecocks’ first drive:
Three first downs? Three first downs. pic.twitter.com/8MKC95bdCT
— GABAttack (@GABAttack) October 22, 2016
Cory Helms just pancaking a dude, courtesy of his mom:
— Sharon Helms (@shhelms1) October 22, 2016
I hate how true this is:
"Don't relax yet South Carolina fans.." Hahahahahahahahaha We've never been relaxed!!
— Block C Blog (@BlockCBlog) October 22, 2016
My kind of in-depth analysis:
This Jake Bentley fellow might be good at the foot-balls
— Brandon Larrabee (@BecomingBrandon) October 22, 2016
- Men’s basketball freshman guard Rakym Felder was arrested on multiple charges over the weekend. Per University policy, Felder will be suspended from all team activities indefinitely.
- On a lighter note:
— GamecockWBB (@GamecockWBB) October 23, 2016
The Non-Rev Report
- USC men’s golf takes second at the Camden Collegiate Invitational.
- The men’s soccer team remains the only unbeaten team in C-USA with its 3-2 over Old Dominion win Saturday night.
- Always great to add one of these to the trophy case…
— Gamecock W. Soccer (@GamecockWSoccer) October 23, 2016