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Furman vs. South Carolina: Game Grades, Analysis for the Gamecocks

Brian Jones@Brian_L_JonesContributor IOctober 18, 2014

South Carolina running back Mike Davis (28) jumps over Furman's Gary Wilkins on his way to the end zone for a first half touchdown during an NCAA college football game in Columbia, S.C.,  Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

The University of South Carolina was able to snap its two-game losing streak with a 41-10 win over Furman University. The final box score can be found here thanks to NCAA.com.

By the looks of the final score and the final stats, one would think South Carolina played a great game and dominated the Paladins. While the Gamecocks did some things well, they have a lot they need to work on moving forward. Despite having three SEC losses, South Carolina is not out of the SEC East race. But it has to improve because it goes to Auburn University next week.

Here are game grades and analysis for South Carolina.

South Carolina Gamecocks Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst Half GradeFinal Grade
Passing OffenseAA-
Running OffenseAA
Passing DefenseAA
Running DefenseD-D
Special TeamsAA
CoachingBB
Bleacher Report

Passing Offense

Dylan Thompson had one of his better games throwing the ball this season. He stood tall in the pocket, made great decisions and always took what the defense gave him. Thompson ended the day with 262 yards and two touchdowns, and he improved his record to 7-3 as a starter. He will need to be even better when the Gamecocks play Auburn next Saturday.

Running Offense

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One of the reasons Thompson was able to throw effectively was that the running game was so strong. Mike Davis ran hard and ended the day with 111 yards and two touchdowns. David Williams was also effective with 110 rushing yards on 11 carries. Even Shon Carson got in the mix with 85 rushing yards and one score. The Gamecocks needed a game like this to prove that they can run the ball, and that they have a talented set of backs that can help the offense control the clock and take pressure off Thompson.

Passing Defense

Furman quarterback P.J. Blazejowski completed 10 of his 15 passes, but he only threw for 85 yards. Furman is not a pass-oriented team, but the Gamecocks made it difficult for the Paladins to throw the ball downfield. Sharrod Golightly was able to put pressure on Blazejowski, and Chris Moody had the lone interception for the Gamecocks.

Running Defense

One of the areas the Gamecocks need to improve is the run defense because they allowed Furman to rush for almost 200 yards. South Carolina has to do a better job containing the edge, and it also needs to tighten things up in the middle of the line because Furman also had success running in that area. Hank McCloud was able to run well against the Gamecocks, rushing for 106 yards and one touchdown.

Special Teams

The Gamecocks' special teams have been a constant all season, and it was no different against Furman. Elliot Fry made both of his field goals, the punting game was efficient and the coverage teams never allowed the Paladins to get into position to have an easy scoring drive. The one thing that would have been great to see is some big returns, but Furman made too many mistakes to let that happen.

Coaching

Even though the Gamecocks won with ease, it almost looked like they were never into the game. Had it not been for some costly mistakes by Furman, the game possibly would have been tied in the second half. So Steve Spurrier did not do the best job getting the Gamecocks more motivated to play this game, even if it was against an FCS team. The coaches did make adjustments in the second half and were able to pull away. But they can’t afford to have a start like they did against Furman going forward because teams like Auburn and the University of Florida will not make the same mistakes the Paladins did in the first half.

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