MMQB: What Went Right, What Went Wrong In South Carolina’s 38-24 Loss To Florida

South Carolina fell to Florida 38-24 on Saturday, falling to 0-2 (0-2) on the season.

It was a game that left most fans uneasy, as there were some head-scratching decisions and inexcusable plays made by the Gamecocks.

At the end of the day, the damage could’ve been a lot worse and the box score is pretty competitive, but nonetheless the game left most people disappointed.

Let’s take a look at what happened on Saturday. 

How The Offense Played 

24 Points 

329 Total Yards 

Another solid, good-not-great performance by Mike Bobo’s offense. If you didn’t watch the game and just looked at the box score, it actually looks fairly impressive.

Collin Hill’s day was similar to his week one performance, as he finished with 212 yards 2 TD’s 0 INT’s on 60% completion. The completion percentage took a dip, but he did not have an interception this game which is a bright spot.

With the team playing from behind most of the game, Bobo relied heavily on the pass game. Hill threw the ball 47 times, which is the second most in his 20 game career. He did, however, lose a fumble and miss a wide open touchdown to Shi Smith on fourth down late in the game, which effectively closed the door for a potential comeback.

Collin Hill is turning out to be exactly who most people thought he was. He’s not going to single-handedly beat teams, but he won’t be the reason Carolina loses games either. He’s a textbook example of a game manager. He knows how to limit turnovers and be smart with the football, which is why Bobo chose him to run this offense.

The ground game had a really nice afternoon, especially Kevin Harris. Harris rattled off 100 yards and 1 TD on 22 carries, which turned out to be somewhat of a breakout performance for the sophomore. He seems to have solidified himself at the top of the depth chart for the position, which is deserved at this point.

Fenwick and White will not disappear, but Harris will likely continue to get the first looks each game.

As far as the wide receivers, it was a pretty lousy performance. The amount of drops was both frustrating and alarming. They happened throughout the entire game, and killed multiple drives in the first half alone.

However, Shi Smith continued to prove he’s a true #1 option on the outside for this offense:

The ones people will remember most are the pair of drops by Shi Smith on the Gamecock’s final drive. Either one of them would’ve brought Carolina within a touchdown, but neither were reeled in. One of them wasn’t a perfect throw by Collin Hill, but it was still catchable and the effort wasn’t the best on the play.

The Gamecock offense won the time of possession battle again, which is another bright spot of the performance.

At the end of the day the offense wasn’t terrible, but didn’t execute enough to give the team a serious chance at winning. 

How The Defense Played 

38 Points Allowed 

348 Total Yards Allowed 

The defensive performance looked just fine in the box score, but watching the game gave fans a different idea.

It just had the feeling that Florida could do whatever they wanted when they had the ball. The Carolina defense did force a pair of turnovers this game, a fumble by Kyle Trask and an impressive interception by Israel Mukuamu.

Aside from the turnovers, however, Florida scored points on 6 of their 8 offensive possessions. The unit did a pretty good job of limiting Kyle Pitts, holding him to 57 yards on just four receptions, but he did have a pair of touchdowns.

Gator quarterback Kyle Trask turned in an extremely efficient day with 268 yards and 4 touchdowns on 72% completion, but did have an interception and fumble. He also had an impressive 9.2 yards per pass, more than double the 4.5 yards per pass of Collin Hill.

South Carolina failed to get to Kyle Trask as much as they needed to, playing into why Trask had such an efficient afternoon. The Gamecock defense only had 2 sacks and 0 QB hurries on the day, which put a lot of stress on the secondary.

The defense did play well against the run, only allowing 3.3 yards per rush and 80 rushing yards total. Jammie Robinson and Kier Thomas led the team in tackles with 6 each. Thomas also had a sack and a tackle for loss.

The most concerning part of the defensive game was the fact that Florida did everything they needed to and more in just over 23 minutes of possession. The Gamecocks almost always lost the time of possession battle last season, and many fans figured that was a reason the defense underperformed.

However, this season Carolina has won both TOP battles this season and the defense has still given up over 30 points in each game.

To speak the truth, I am fairly concerned with how underwhelming the defense is in Muschamp’s 5th year with few injuries. Especially after having a Top 25 unit in 2017 with little talent compared to this team, theres no reason the defense should be giving up so many points this season.

On the bright side, the defense has a good opportunity to get back on track next week at Vanderbilt 

Final Analysis

It was another game that ended pretty much how everyone expected it to, with Florida controlling the game and winning by double digits.

The offense got off to another fast start with a scripted first drive, but could never replicate the magic quite as efficiently the rest of the game.

The clock management on the last drive of the game was very head scratching and the defense continues to be underwhelming. I have always been a believer of Will Muschamp, but I am starting to have doubts about how much better this team can get with this regime.

South Carolina will need to right the ship next Saturday on the road against Vanderbilt.

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