South Carolina’s win against Kentucky Saturday night saved any hopes of a 7 or 8 win season. The Gamecocks now sit at 4-2, with half of the season remaining.
Carolina’s chances of winning 8 games is certainly possible at this point, however, they will have a much harder time until they find a way to start stronger offensively.
Carolina has started slow offensively in all 6 games and unfortunately, this has really become the story of the season thus far. Had South Carolina played stronger for 4 quarters of football over the past 6 games, the current outlook on the season could be a lot stronger than it is now (obviously the Kentucky game has boosted confidence but we could be in even better shape).
Say the Gamecocks fixed their 1st half offensive struggles after week one. What kind of shape would they be in?
Well, they potentially could have beaten Arkansas, they would have been far more competitive against Georgia, and they could have currently found themselves nationally ranked at 5-1.
Even on Saturday, Carolina could have put Kentucky away far earlier than they did. The Gamecocks scored only once in the first half, after Kentucky turned the ball over on their own 3 yard line.
At times, it seemed as if Kentucky did everything they could to give South Carolina a large first half lead. Yet, Carolina had trouble taking advantage of all but one of these opportunities. By the end of the first half, they found themselves tied with the Wildcats.
The frustrating part is, if the Gamecocks offensively put up a better first half, the game would have seemed out of reach midway through the third quarter. The Gamecocks would have shown absolute domination on the scoreboard as well.
Although Carolina, despite these struggles, can defeat a beat-up Kentucky team, they won’t be able to do the same against teams like Texas A&M or Florida, much less Clemson or Tennessee.
For the Gamecocks to have the highest possibility of winning 7 or 8 games, they’re going to have to put more points on the board in the first half.
With all of this in mind, I don’t want to take too much away from Carolina’s performance on Saturday. By no means did they play poorly, as they found a way to beat a Top 15 team on the road.
This game by no means should be considered a negative and was definitely hard fought. However, Carolina would appear in much better shape looking forward, had they played a complete game.
Now that the bye week is here, I have faith that Beamer and Satterfield will find a way to correct this issue before the second half of the season begins. If they are able to do so, South Carolina will appear as an entirely different team.