Monday, November 7, 2011

Gamecocks Now on the Passenger's Seat

With a realistic possiblity to still make it to the BCS National Championship and in the driver's seat to make a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship in back to back years, the South Carolina Gamecocks went into Fayeteville with more to win than to lose.  They suffered a major blow defensively when they decided that Antonio Allen was declared to be out for the game. Allen leads the team in tackling, has made key plays in key situations and is the leader of the defense.  His absence was evident in a play right before the end of the 2nd half when Arkansas' quarterback Tyler Wilson threw a pass into the endzone to a wide open receiver who was supposed to be covered by Allen's replacement Demario Jeffery.  The Gamecocks gave up too many big plays and the defense didn't live up to it's potential.  When the Gamecocks scored the first touchdown of the game, Arkansas returned the following kickoff for a touchdown, giving Arkansas the lead back in less than 10 seconds.  When Devin Taylor picked off Tyler Wilson in midfield and returned the interception for a touchdown, the Gamecocks gave up a touchdown on the first play of Arkansas' following drive.  The offense for the Gamecocks was better than it has been in the last couple of weeks but was greatly inexistent.  They had 4 turnovers against a team that can score in a hurry and is near impossible to beat when given a short field.  The offensive line was atrocious and gave the running backs no running room.  Their pass protection was the worse I've seen from them the whole season and their poor play might cause Connor Shaw to miss their next game against Florida due to suffering a concussion late in the game.  Steve Spurrier went away from what had been succesful throughout the season and that is running the ball.  Shaw ran it extremely well but Brandon Wilds only carried the ball 10 times for 21 yards after having a strong game against Tennessee.  It is evident that the passing game will not win games for the Gamecocks as Shaw only had 128 yards and also threw one interception.  Alshon Jeffery has to be frustrated with the passing game thus far as he only had three catches for 19 yards.  South Carolina's leading receiver in the game was running back Kenny Miles who caught two passes for 30 yrards.  South Carolina has to make sure it fixes all the problems it had against the Razorbacks if they want to beat Florida.  Eventhough Florida doesn't have the passing offense that Arkansas has, they have dynamic players that can put up points in a hurry.  Special Team's play also has to drastically improve against the Gators since they have two of the most explosive returners in the country in Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey.  They now have no shot at the National Championship and have to depend on Auburn beating Georgia in Athens to make it back to the SEC Championship Game.  However, before they can root for the Tigers, they have make improvements in order to beat Gators.

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