I had a different take on the USC game. Their defense looked beat (tired) starting in the early 2d quarter. That is not good news for the team. Hard to fix a conditioning problem that bad in short order. I was not all that impressed with their offense, which was facing a D line that gave up over 50 lbs per position. Clooney looked awful, getting beat by the NC line for the entire first half. Not an impressive start, but Spurrier is a crafty guy, so won't count them out, yet. But not an impressive start, if your goal is a division championship.
Our Take: So that was easy. Obviously, we have no idea how good North Carolina will be, but if they’re a bowl quality team, well, that’s a scary thought for the SEC because South Carolina dismantled them.
Most impressive was USC’s ground game which cranked out 228 yards against the Tar Heels. Mike Davis filled Marcus Lattimore’s shoes quite nicely with 115 yards on just 12 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown gallop in the second half.
Connor Shaw’s passing remains spotty. Overall he was 11-of-20 for 149 yards and a TD, but 65 of those yards came on his first-drive scoring pass to Shaq Roland. Dylan Thompson threw just one pass on the night, a 29-yard score to Kane Whitehurst in the back of the end zone. The Cocks only slowed down in the first half once the Ol’ Ball Coach started calling more passes than runs. Carolina just isn’t that built that way.
The Gamecocks’ conditioning also looked to be an issue — even Steve Spurrier promised to fix it in his postgame talk — but if this was Carolina at its worst? Maybe we should move them into the national title contender category after all. A great debut.
What’s They’re Saying:
Video Highlights: click here.
And apparently, Under Armour had a little trouble with one of Carolin(a)’s jerseys…
Our Take: If you didn’t stay up for this one, you missed a curtain-raiser that turned into a barn-burner. There was nary a defense to be found as the two teams combined for 74 points and 915 yards, 583 through the air. Back and forth they went — Ole Miss up 10-0, Vandy up 21-10, Ole Miss up 28-25 — right down to the final two minutes of the game.
Austyn Carta-Samuels (21-of-36, 300 yards, two TDs and two INTs) connected with Steven Scheu to put the Dores in the lead 35-32 with just 1:30 left on the clock. Twenty-three seconds later, Rebel running back Jeff Scott weaved his way down the left sideline for 75 yards on a zone read play, giving Ole Miss the lead.
Vandy was driving again when a Carta-Samuels pass bounced off the hands of receiver Jordan Matthews and into the arms of Mississippi defensive back Cody Prewitt.
Both teams should be concerned about the lack of defense displayed on Thursday night, but these teams both have quarterbacks who can move the ball. UM’s Bo Wallace passed for 283 and ran for another 48 including two touchdowns.
What They’re Saying:
Video Highlights: click here.
Here’s guessing Vandy’s Caleb Azubike just started a new fad…
SIDENOTE – As we’ve written many times, show us the team that commits the most turnovers and we’ll show you which team lost the game. Last night, North Carolina was -1 in turnover margin and Vanderbilt was -2. It’s the single most important stat in football, especially in the SEC.