South Carolina Football: 5 Startling Statistics from Gamecocks' 2013 Campaign
Despite a 4-1 start, South Carolina's season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride thus far. With injuries and controversies, the team has certainly faced its share of adversity over the first few games of the year.
Through it all, Steve Spurrier's team is still in the mix in the SEC.
Here are five startling statistics from the Gamecocks' 2013-14 campaign. Some are good and others are bad, but this squad will keep pushing forward nevertheless.
Mike Davis' Yards Per Carry
One man is carrying a huge workload for the Gamecocks. Mike Davis.
Davis burst onto the scene and is proving that he is one of the best running backs in college football. More specifically, Davis is turning heads in the football world with his impressive average of 6.7 yards per carry. That average is good for 33rd in the country.
You say 33rd in the country isn't that impressive? Well, it is.
Davis has 92 carries to this point in the season. Among running backs with 90 or more carries, only two—Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews and Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah—have higher YPC averages.
And keep in mind that those players have not gone up against Georgia's defense, which is above average even when considering its flaws. The Gamecocks' opponents may not have the best defenses, but Davis' feat is amazing nonetheless.
Receptions by Tight Ends
South Carolina as a team has 90 completions on the season, which is a fairly balanced number for this offense. Of those 90 completions, only 15 have gone to the tight ends, a unit that should be more involved in the receiving game.
The trio of Rory "Busta" Anderson, Jerell Adams and Drew Owens should have more touches of the football. However, the offense isn't finding its big, acrobatic and athletic tight ends.
These three players are great receivers, so South Carolina should use them.
Fifteen of 90 catches accounts for 16.7 percent of the team's receptions. That number is far too low.
It's startling that the tight end trio only has one-sixth of South Carolina's catches. The offense needs to increase that number because this unit has too much talent and shouldn't go to waste.
South Carolina's defense is nowhere near the level it attained last year.
The talent is there, but the execution is not. Age looks to be a factor.
So far in 2013, the Gamecocks are allowing 25.8 points per game, which is only good for 60th in the country. Compare that to last season, when South Carolina boasted the 13th-ranked scoring defense in the nation by only allowing 18.23 points per game.
A seven-point difference may not look like much, but it is a steep drop.
This could be a product of the changing SEC, which is struggling to have top-20 defenses right now. However, I would say that the main issues are South Carolina's tackling at the linebacker position and a susceptibility to big plays made against the secondary.
This defense has struggled. Now's the time to work toward improving it.
Yards Per Game
Not every team can have a record-setting offense like the Baylor Bears, but South Carolina is doing great things on the offensive side of the ball too.
Head coach Steve Spurrier has his offense racking up yardage and wearing down opposing defenses—especially on the ground with Mike Davis.
In 2013, the Gamecocks are averaging 476.4 yards of offense per game, which is good for 31st in the country. The yards are piling on and the team is also scoring points.
Spurrier's team has been above average offensively, but this season is something different with the ability to accumulate so many yards of total offense.
This squad also has balance between its 26th-ranked rushing offense and 44th-ranked passing offense.
While the offense is good and can still improve, the yards statistic is impressive no matter how you slice it.
The Team's Record
South Carolina lost to Georgia, narrowly beat UCF and Kentucky, and slid by Vanderbilt by 10 points. The Gamecocks don't look as dominant as they did last season en route to 11 wins.
At the end of the day, though, they're still 4-1 and ranked No. 13 in the nation.
South Carolina is still in position to have a fighting chance at the SEC East division with some help from Georgia and remains poised to reach a respectable bowl game.
The team is 4-1 and trying to improve because there is a whole lot to improve on. That is not a bad situation for a team that is clearly not playing up to its potential.
If the Gamecocks get better each week, then that 4-1 could turn into 10-1, making for an intense potential showdown with Clemson at the end of the year.