2012 Capital One Bowl: Grading South Carolina's Win Against Nebraska
South Carolina played Nebraska in what was a historic and important milestone in South Carolina football history. It was a great day. However, how did the individual units grade out?
As a professional educator, I get the opportunity to give grades a great deal. Some I enjoy giving, and some are difficult to hand out.
This is of the former.
This is a report card that most kids would love to show a parent.
On offense, South Carolina was efficient. The Gamecocks weren't spectacular, but obviously they did enough to win. Their running game was stifled a bit, but the passing game made up for it.
They gained 353 yards of total offense, with 230 in passing and 123 rushing.
Connor Shaw and Alshon Jeffery were great, and Kenny Miles had his moments.
South Carolina's defense had one shaky quarter. Then it had three of utter dominance. The Gamecocks held Nebraska to their lowest offensive output of the year and had six sacks.
The Cornhuskers only managed 253 yards and had two costly turnovers.
It was a heck of a debut for new defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.
This was a hot-and-cold game for the special teams.
They got a big play on the blocked extra point, and had some nice returns out of Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders.
The kicking game was woeful. They missed a chip-shot field goal, kicked one of the worst kickoffs I have ever seen out of bounds and punted poorly for most of the game.
For that, the grade gets lowered.
On another positive note, the coverage was good.
Coach Spurrier called a fine game, and Lorenzo Ward made adjustments to the defense that Ellis Johnson usually didn't.
The team was prepared, fired up and fairly mistake free.
Steve Spurrier cemented his status as one of the greatest coaches of all time, and is now 10 wins away from being the coach with the most wins in Carolina history.
While the special teams could have been better and the offense was just above average, no one can deny that the whole effort was very impressive. This was one of the Head Ball Coach's best jobs coaching, and one of the best efforts on the field by the players.
You can't ask for anything more than a 17-point win in a high-caliber bowl game against a good team.