South Carolina Gamecocks: Successes and Opportunities from Week 12 vs. Wofford
The South Carolina Gamecocks were deadlocked with FCS opponent Wofford for three quarters before pulling away to a 24-7 victory over the Terriers last Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The victory, although convincing by the end, took the Gamecocks down in the BCS standings to No. 12 heading into their rivalry game against No. 11 Clemson this week.
Before looking ahead to the Tigers, lets look back and review the Gamecocks' successes and opportunities against the Terriers in their final home game of the season.
Success: Kenny Miles
Rushing for a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown against the Terriers, Miles left it all on the field on Senior Day for the Gamecocks.
Miles' performance could not have come at a better time with the team playing without Marcus Lattimore for the rest of the season and a rivalry game on the road as well as a bowl game ahead of them.
Without a doubt, Miles was the Gamecocks' Player of the Game and will be vital once again as South Carolina looks to win its fourth game in a row against Clemson.
Opportunity: South Carolina Giveaways
The Gamecocks' only managing seven points in the first half wasn't so much due to offensive struggles or Wofford's overwhelming defense but because of critical turnovers on deep drives.
The first was an interception thrown by Connor Shaw on South Carolina's first possession, which ended a lengthy 5:19 drive at the Wofford 33-yard line.
The next came on a Mike Davis fumble in the second quarter after a breakaway run that would have set up a first down inside the 5-yard line.
In both cases, the Gamecocks were poised to come away with points but instead kept Wofford in the game a little longer than they should have been.
Turnovers are bad enough on their own, but the fact that they occur inside the opponent's territory is even worse and certainly presents South Carolina with an opportunity to be more careful with the football looking ahead to Clemson.
Bottom line, the Gamecocks are battling enough with injuries to get to 11 wins. They can't keep themselves off the scoreboard on account of their own mistakes.
Success: South Carolina Takeaways
South Carolina might have had an opportunity with turning the ball over against Wofford, but they more than made up for it by creating three turnovers themselves.
The big one that made the highlight reels was Akeem Auguste's fumble recovery in the fourth quarter that turned into a 31-yard touchdown and game-sealer for the Gamecocks.
The defense for South Carolina has undeniably been the cornerstone for their success in the 2012 season and once again came up big in creating miscues for the Terriers, which led to the Gamecocks completing a perfect season at home for the first time since 1987.
Opportunity: Mike Davis
The highly touted freshman running back was only used sparingly by the Gamecocks against the Terriers, accounting for 22 yards on three carries.
Granted, the veteran senior Kenny Miles was rightfully the workhorse for the Gamecocks in the ground game with 127 yards, but Davis is the future for the South Carolina backfield and when presented with opportunities this year, must make the most of them.
Where I am zeroing in is Davis' aforementioned second-quarter breakaway run that should have given the Gamecocks a 1st-and-goal inside the 5-yard line but turned into a turnover for Wofford going the other way.
In the grand scheme of things, Davis is only a freshman playing in a game against an FCS opponent, but his opportunity is making the most of the carries he gets, especially when he touches the ball against Clemson this week.
Success: Akeem Auguste
No one could have been happier (with the exception of maybe Kenny Miles) to score a touchdown on Senior Day than Akeem Auguste, who was lost for most of the 2011 season with a foot injury and then for part of this season with groin and thigh injuries.
Auguste, who had an interception a week ago against Arkansas, made a key fumble recovery against Wofford in the fourth quarter of the Gamecocks' 24-7 victory, which was a fitting redemption for the senior cornerback.
Of course it will mean even more for Auguste and the rest of the senior class to end the 2012 regular season with a career sweep of Clemson at Death Valley.