Georgia got their revenge for their lone regular season loss in 2019. The Bulldogs defeated the Gamecocks 45-16 on Saturday night, as South Carolina falls to 2-7 on the season heading into their final game.
It was a tough way for the seniors to wrap up their home careers at Williams-Brice. Georgia wasted no time getting out to an early lead, and had no trouble keeping it out of reach for the rest of the game.
It was what many expected considering that Carolina is just limping to the finish line with a depleted roster and interim head coach.
Let’s take a closer look at who played well and who didn’t on Saturday night.
How The Defense Played
45 Points Allowed
471 Total Yards Allowed
The defensive lineup is a shell of its former self at this point. The unit is missing key pieces on all three levels, including some of the best players on the whole roster.
Be that as it may, there is never a good time for an excuse, and this game is no exception. There were a few bright spots on this side of the ball though.
Sophomore defensive back Jammie Robinson collected the only interception for the Gamecocks in the game, and also led the team with 10 tackles.
Assuming he stays with the new coaching staff next season, he will likely be the premier player for the South Carolina secondary in 2021. He is a versatile piece and I am intrigued to see how he will be used under the new staff.
Sophomore defensive lineman Zacch Pickens also tallied his first sack of the season, along with three solo tackles and one tackle for loss. Pickens is another player that will be huge for the new staff to retain, as he was a five star recruit and will be a very valuable piece of the defensive line as he becomes an upperclassmen.
Redshirt freshman Rodricus Fitten was another youngster who put together an impressive performance. His six tackles was the third most on the team, and he also had half of a sack as well as half of a tackle for loss.
Overall, while the defense was not expected to put together a lights-out performance, there was a lot of young talent that got to have an opportunity at playing time. That should bode well heading into next week and next season, especially since this year will not count against anyones eligibility.
However, none of that will matter if the next coaching staff is unable to retain all of the young talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
How The Offense Played
16 Points Scored
273 Total Yards
The offense, much like the defense, simply struggled to get anything going. There were a pair of nice drives early in the second quarter, but other than that it was stopped much more often than not.
It was a very difficult situation for a true freshman quarterback to make his first start, but all in all Luke Doty threw the ball pretty well. He finished with 190 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception on 82% completion. Doty’s QBR of 70.5 was actually better than his counterpart JT Daniels, who’s QBR was just 59.6.
Georgia’s defensive gameplan was clearly to stop the run at all costs, and they did a good job of it. Luke Doty finished with -15 rushing yards on 15 attempts and Kevin Harris only totaled 53 rushing yards on 17 carries. South Carolina as a team only managed 1.9 yards per carry.
Arguably the best Gamecock performance of the night came from tight end Nick Muse. The senior reeled in 8 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Similar to the defense, the offense’s expectations heading into this game were slim to none. Facing one of the nations most talented defenses while missing your top receiving option is not ideal, especially with a true freshman quarterback. With all that considered, the game could’ve gone a lot worse in a lot of ways for the offense.
Doty was smart throwing the football for the most part and his high completion percentage should help confirm that. While the Georgia defense sold out to stop the run, Doty stepped up as a passer and Nick Muse stepped up as a reliable receiving option.
At the end of the day, I think the best thing to be happy about for this offense was Luke Doty’s ability to throw the ball. We all know he is an electric runner, but his passing looks more advanced than many would’ve expected at this stage.
The future is bright for South Carolina at the quarterback position.
Again, this outcome isn’t close to what anyone wanted, but there were definitely some obvious bright spots throughout the game.
It should be clear that this coaching change is nothing like the one in 2015. When Muschamp arrived in Columbia, it was time for a full rebuild.
This time around, there is really a solid core of young talent on both sides of the ball. Now, none of that will matter if the next coach is unable to convince the talent to stay in Columbia. But if he can, then the 2021 team should be one that can at least make a bowl game.
Next week is a date with the Kentucky Wildcats, which is a very winnable game for South Carolina. As of now, there is a 40% chance of snow in Lexington for next Saturday, so that could make for a fun way to end the season.