BCB Game Recap: UNC

The Gamecocks have their first win of the 2013 season and were able to outlast a menacing Tar Heel football team 27-10. The Gamecocks wasted no time in putting points on the board when Connor Shaw found a streaking Shaq Rolland for a 65 yard TD completion on the third play of the game.  The Tar Heels looked to be a victim of a blowout when the Gamecocks quickly went up 17-0 early in the first half, but managed to keep it relatively close the remainder of the game. A win is a win and we will take them any way they come, but the Gamecocks must look to improve from week to week and continue to get better as a team throughout the season. Now we will take a look at a few things we learned from the first game.

Two-Headed Monster: Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds certainly did not disappoint. Both were able to show great strength hitting the holes and the ability to fight for extra yardage. The duo combined for 179 yards on the ground with just 12 carries a piece. Mike Davis averaged nearly 10 yards and carry, while Wilds dished out nearly 6 yards a carry. In week one, the ground game between Davis and Wilds looks like it very well could be a formula for victory this season. We will have to wait and see for sure as these next few weeks play out, considering the Gamecocks O-Line outweighed the UNC D-Line 50 pounds per man and dominated for the most part up front.

Defense Is Still The Backbone: I think most fans were concerned to see how the defense would look in a live game with so many departures from last season’s unit and I think it is safe to say that they did not disappoint. A lot of the younger guys with limited PT in the past proved they are ready to take the reins and make a name for themselves. T.J. Gurley, who was filling in for an injured Kadetrix Marcus, finished with 9 tackles to lead the team. Meanwhile first year starter at the “Spur” position Sharrod Golightly recorded 6 tackles and 1 TFL. Someone I was really impressed with while taking limited snaps was DE Darius English. He showed great explosiveness off the ball and was able to find himself in the backfield multiple times against the Tar Heels first team O-Line. Overall the defense was pretty solid and held the Tar Heels to 293 total yards, about half of their average from a season ago. The defense will face another “High Tempo” offense next week when they travel to Georgia and must show improvement from week one in order to leave Athens with a “W”.

Clowney Is Human: Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney actually showed signs of being “Human” in last night’s contest. Unbeknownst to us fans until later, Clowney was suffering from effects of a stomach virus he was still recovering from just a day before the game. At times he seemed very sluggish and just not himself. However his presence alone made a huge impact -n the UNC offense and the Gamecock defense was not the same without him on the field. I have no doubt that JD will be 100% next Saturday and will be hungry for big plays. Clowney finished the game with just 3 tackles; partly because of the quick strike offense of UNC and whenever the Tar Heels went to the running game they simply just ran away from the All- American defensive end. Look forward to a big game from #7 against the Dawgs as the Gamecocks try to extend their winning streak to 4 over the bulldogs.

Shaw Is Still Shaw: Connor Shaw started with a BANG on the third play of the game by hitting Shaq Rolland on a 65 yard post route for a TD and could have not thrown the ball any better while placing the ball in Rolland’s hand in perfect stride. Shaw finished the night completing 11 of 20 passes for 149 yards with 1 TD and rushed 12 times for 43 yards (3.6 yds per carry). Shaw made some really good throws at times, but then reverted to the old tuck and run when his first option was not there, putting himself in harm’s way when there were other open receivers. Shaw is a great runner and athlete and can make big plays with his legs. As a fan I would much rather him go through his progressions and if absolutely has no other option, then tuck it and run. There is no need to risk injury if you do not have to. One particular play stands out when Shaw took off, got hit in the air and landed on his neck. Scary moment to see your QB hit the turf like that. There is no doubt he is tough as nails as well as fearless as they come, but in order to make a run at the SEC Championship the Gamecocks will need both a healthy Shaw and Thompson.

The Gamecocks will get set this week for their first in-conference game and head to Athens to take on the Bulldogs of Georgia. I expect there to be vast improvement on both sides of the ball from week one going into week two of the season as there usually is. The Gamecocks have beaten the Bulldogs the past 3 years and look to extend their streak to 4 in a pivotal matchup to take control of the top spot in the SEC East race and remember Gamecocks, the road to “The Dome” starts now!

Ryan Hood

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