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: Quarterback Questions
“The potential drawbacks of starting Bentley are obvious. Playing him uses a year of his eligibility, regardless of how effective he proves to be, and kills the potential for a separation year between him and McIlwain.” — Heath Cline
With many who cover the Gamecocks predicting Jake Bentley will start at quarterback against UMass on Saturday, #BentleyWatch has hit fever pitch on social media. USC fans, along with college football fans and journalists alike have chimed in with their thoughts on the Gamecocks’ (likely) change under center:
— Brandon Pugh (@bfpugh) October 20, 2016
Brandon Pugh isn’t alone in hoping the Gamecocks keep the redshirt on the true freshman, many fans use the “lost season” argument to justify keeping Bentley on the bench.
No doubt I believe Jake Bentley will be good but to give on Brandon now after one start against a top 10 team and use up the redshirt? #idk
— Dwight Sharpe (@wdsharpe14) October 19, 2016
South Carolina is 2-4, not 2-8. By no means has the 2016 campaign already reached “lost season” status. Flip the script, go 4-2 in the second half and the Gamecocks are going bowling and looking at finishing above .500.
The question is: Is the highly-touted Bentley the spark South Carolina needs to turn it around?
@Ben_Baby Covered Bentley for two years. If anyone can start when they should still be in HS, it's him. He's the real deal.
— Dana Sulonen (@DanaSulonen) October 18, 2016
Look at the remaining schedule. Do any of those games look more difficult than the game against No. 6 Texas A&M? You know, the one the Gamecocks lost 24-13 when they were three-touchdown home underdogs? The answer is no.
The most difficult challenge the Gamecocks will face in the second half of the season is a Nov. 26 date with Clemson in the Upstate.
Beyond The Battle of the Palmetto State and even the push to achieve bowl eligibility, Bentley’s impact goes far beyond the field in 2016. Recruiting, momentum, fan support and boosters.
If there was ever a time to take a such a big risk, it’s now.
“Timing is essential in football, especially when you are dealing with things as important as a quarterback change and you are dealing with two true freshmen. If indeed the move is made, the timing could not have been better or handled better from the standpoint of South Carolina’s coaching staff.” — JC Shurburtt
What to Expect in a USC QB’s First Start
How have other South Carolina signal-callers fared in their first starts? I went back to 2005, starting with Blake Mitchell, to summarize the stats for the Gamecocks’ QBs in their starter debuts.
Brandon McIlwain W vs. ECU, 52-20 (2016)
- Passing: 16-28, 195 yards
- Rushing: 9 att., 34 yards, 2 TD
- Total: 229 yards, 2 TDs
Lorenzo Nunez W vs. UCF, 31-14 (2015)
- Passing: 12-22, 184 yards, 2 TDs
- Rushing: 18 att., 123 yards
- Total: 307 yards, 2 TDs
Perry Orth L @ UGA, 52-20 (2015)
- Passing: 6-17, 66 yards, 1 INT
- Rushing: 3 att. -4 YDs, 1 TD
- Total: 62 yards, 1 TD, 1 TO
- Note: Replaced by Lorenzo Nunez in the second half
Connor Mitch W vs. UNC, 17-13 in Charlotte (2015)
- Passing: 9-22, 122 yards, 1 TD
- Rushing: 10 att., 44 yards
- Total: 168 yards, 1 TD
Dylan Thompson W vs. ECU, 48-10 (2012)
- Passing: 21-37, 330 yards, 3 TDs
- Rushing: 9 att., 17 yards, 1 TO
- Total: 347 yards, 3 TDs, 1 TO
Connor Shaw W vs. ECU, 56-37 in Charlotte (2011)
- Passing: 3-9, 21 yards
- Rushing: 7 att., 26 yards, 1 TO
- Total: 47 yards, 0 TD, 1 TO
- Note: Benched for Stephen Garcia in first half
Stephen Garcia L vs. LSU, 24-17 (2008)
- Passing: 14-26, 215 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Rushing: 19 att., 15 yards, 1 TO
- Total: 230 yards, 1 TD, 2 TOs
Tommy Beecher W vs. NC State, 34-0 (2008)
- Passing: 12-22, 106 yards, 4 INTs
- Rushing: 12 att., 25 yards
- Total: 131 yards, 4 TOs
- Note: Benched for Chris Smelley in first half
Chris Smelley W vs. Mississippi State, 38-21 (2007)
- Passing: 19-37, 279 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Rushing: 5 att., 7 yards
- Total: 276 yards, 2 TDs, 1 TO
Antonio Heffner L @ Auburn, 48-7 (2005)
- Passing: 15-23, 133 yards, 1 TD
- Rushing: 10 att., 1 yard, 1 TO
- Total: 134 yards, 1 TD, 1 TO
Blake Mitchell W vs. UCF, 24-15 (2005)
- Passing: 18-23, 330 yards, 3 TDs
- Rushing: 6 att., -6 yards
- Total: 324 yards, 3 TDs
In Case You Missed It
- From The Big Spur, Kurt Roper tells Tommy Suggs “(the Gamecocks) obviously have to play better.”
- The State on the Gamecocks embracing bowl talk.
- Muschamp is not playing around when discussing Darius English’s play this season. Look at that face!
— Gamecock Athletics (@GamecocksOnline) October 18, 2016
- Garnet & Black Attack notes that South Carolina’s quarterback situation is just one many problems.
- Playing Jake Bentley is premature and overdue, according to Greenville Online.
- The State asks ESPN Chalk’s David Purdum the most important question of the week: How are the low-scoring Gamecocks such big favorites?
“That’s a good question. That’s a funny nugget. You know, they are just looking at their power ratings. They have South Carolina power rated this much higher than UMass. Obviously, South Carolina is in the midst of maybe a quarterback change, maybe a scheme change, but it doesn’t seem to be impacting the numbers much on either of these teams. They could have completely switched quarterbacks and that number probably would be the same.” — Purdum on the line for the game on Saturday.
The Non-Rev Report
- Senior Kaleigh Kurtz, of the No.2-ranked South Carolina women’s soccer team, was named NCAA Player of the Week.
- The women’s soccer team put their 14-match winning streak on the line Thursday night against Vanderbilt.
- The men’s soccer team’s unbeaten streak came to end on Tuesday night in a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Wake Forest.
- Former South Carolina women’s golfer Sarah Schmelzel moves closer to earning LPGA Tour membership.
- The men’s basketball team was picked to finish 8th in the SEC. Despite winning 25 games and finishing third in the conference last season, the Gamecocks aren’t getting much love from the media this year. With an early game against Syracuse, fans will quickly learn whether this team is underrated or right where it should be.
- Frank Martin scoffs at your “irrelevant” poll.
- Coach Martin, Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell stopped by SEC Now to break down the 2016-2017 Gamecocks squad.
- There were no USC players in the first or second preseason All-SEC teams. With strong backcourt play throughout the conference, it should come as no surprise that Notice and Thornwell (USC’s only returning starters) were left off the list.
— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) October 19, 2016
It’s the lowest-hanging fruit
The easiest way to make #Clempson tweeters mad is to insult their strength of schedule.
— Rodge Hodge Podge (@thecockmoore) October 19, 2016
Some perspective on the Gamecocks’ current QB situation
People mad Muschamp is trying to find the best QB, but we all know Spurrier would have went through all 3 QBs about 4 times already.Amirite?
— Rob Proffitt (@BreakinDownFilm) October 19, 2016
I would love to know the explanation for this
Hi. can whoever dropped this outside of Russell plz find me because i have sOo many questions for u, and the first one is are u single?? pic.twitter.com/TKLRaFcaVx
— Kathleen (@sippinkathLeen) October 19, 2016
The term “kayfabe” refers to the portrayal of pro wrestling’s scripted events in the ring as being real or true. This episode of Carolina Kayfabe dramatizes the Gamecocks’ quarterback controversy, with an unlikely hero (or “face”) saving the day.
Let me set the scene: The brutal SEC schedule (portrayed by The Shield) continue to pound away on the Gamecocks (CM Punk). Just when all hope seems lost, Jake “The Snake” Bentley (played by his assumed namesake, Jake Roberts) emerges from the tunnel to a hero’s welcome and ultimately triumphs over the reviled heels.