COLUMBIA, S.C. – It’s bye week for South Carolina. But before the break, we hand out grades for the Gamecocks’ most recent game: a 28-14 loss to Georgia.
It just isn’t happening … still. The Gamecocks insist they are close to clicking offensively. I believe it more after seeing the offense with a mostly healthy group of wide receivers and with Perry Orth at quarterback.
I buy into the overall attack more with Orth at this point, but it does appear USC has a tricky situation where only its passing attack is good with Orth and only its run game is good with Brandon McIlwain.
Orth made some really good throws Sunday to go with some pretty bad ones. But he threw for 268 yards to build on a 138-yard fourth quarter against Texas A&M. He benefited from the return of Deebo Samuel, who had 90 yards receiving and a 9-yard touchdown. Hayden Hurst continues to play like an NFL-caliber tight end and Bryan Edwards returned from injury to make plays as well.
Still, the run game was atrocious. The Gamecocks gained just 30 yards on the ground and accounted for two of three turnovers as A.J. Turner and Rico Dowdle each fumbled once.
The offensive line was porous in both aspects, allowing 5 sacks and 8 tackles for loss.
Grade: C –
The defense held up its end of the bargain a week ago against Texas A&M in limiting a high-powered offense. But it could not get the job done against Georgia.
The Gamecocks knew the run was coming with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel leading a three-man attack. They still could not stop it as the Bulldogs rushed for 326 yards. Michel led the way with 133, while Chubb had 121 and Brian Herrien came shy of 100 yards, finishing with 82 yards.
The good news for South Carolina? Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason could not get anything going through the air. He finished with 29 yards, completing just 5 of his 17 attempts.
Chris Lammons had a solid game matched up against Isaiah McKenzie. He was a bright spot, as was Jamarcus King.
By the way, Darius English is not being talked about enough for the season he is having as a pass rusher. He’s a playmaker.
There appears to be no answer at punt returner for South Carolina, which turned to Hurst on Sunday. The tight end didn’t field any of the five punts he was back to return. Three wound up inside the USC 10-yard line after he did not catch the ball.
Sean Kelly averaged just shy of 50 yards per punt, as the punter continues to be one of the brightest spots.
Oh and South Carolina had an onside kick returned for a 42-yard touchdown, which is something you don’t see everyday. That was ugly.
Grade: C –
When will we get to talk to Kurt Roper? The Gamecocks offensive coordinator has not been available to the media since preseason camp. There are so many question to be asked of Roper each week, but the opportunity has yet to present itself.
One of the top questions this week would be regarding the play call on fourth-and-2 as it looked like Orth’s first read was to Turner … who was short of the first-down marker.
But in the end, it is hard to hold coaches accountable for a severe lack of execution. Basically, South Carolina not stopping the run is not on the coaches.
No run game. No run defense. No special teams boost
It’s tough right now for this South Carolina team, which displays the same issues week in and week out on offense. The defense, unfortunately, got in on the action against Georgia.