South Carolina Football Downs Mississippi State: The Good and the Bad
Over on my live blog of the game, a comment was made from a reader about not knowing how to feel after South Carolina's 14-12 win over Mississippi State on Saturday.
To be honest, I am right there with you.
Any other year, I would be ecstatic about being 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC...but not this year. Once again, heightened expectations and a taste of victory have made it very difficult to enjoy what has become a successful season thus far.
Here is what I personally take away from this game...
Good: Connor Shaw Under Pressure
Connor Shaw proved that he has some grit. He didn't have gaudy numbers, but threw a crucial touchdown late in the game.
He earned the SEC Network player of the game honor. It is well deserved.
South Carolina had confidence in their quarterback to lead them to victory against a stingy defense. That confidence gave the team the victory.
Bad: The Offensive Line
Over the course of the last few weeks, the offensive line has taken numerous steps backwards, both literally and figuratively.
They can't open holes for the running game anymore. Connor Shaw was pressured numerous times. This unit just doesn't look right. Injuries have had a factor, but that is no excuse. They must play better.
Good: The "Fire Ant" Defense
There aren't enough words to compliment the defense as a whole. They are fast, crushing, and able to shut down everything. Offenses may get a big play or two off, but that's it. Don't expect many teams to be able to do much more.
Bad: Stephon Gilmore
As good as the defense has played, Stephon Gilmore has been a liability at times.
In this game, he didn't play very well. While he wasn't horrendous, we expect so much more out of him, and he can deliver.
He just didn't in this game.
Good: Bruce Ellington
Bruce Ellington is a football player who happens to be a basketball player. It's not the other way around.
Sorry Coach Horn.
Bruce Ellington has incredible hands, great speed, excellent awareness, and can actually throw out of the wildcat.
He gives the Gamecocks a completely different dimension, and is an incredible weapon.
Super-Mega-Bad: Marcus Lattimore's Leg Injury
This is the one thing that South Carolina fans feared. If Marcus Lattimore has to lose any major time, this season will be a wash. He is the heart and soul of the offense, regardless of how well he is actually playing.
Good: A Win Is a Win, and the Gamecocks Are 6-1
That's all that needs to be said.