Saturday, October 06, 2007

Grading the Keys to the Win vs. UK

USC is off to its best start since 2001, when it won its first five games before losing at Arkansas. By now everyone knows the No. 11-ranked Gamecocks downed No. 8 Kentucky 38-23 on Thursday night. So less look at how they did with the LOHD keys to winning against the Wildcats:

1.Stop Woodson--- Woodson, who was 23-for-40 for 227 yards, had a rough night due to constant pressure from the D line of Carolina. The Gamecocks (5-1, 3-1) forced turnovers by harassing quarterback Andre' Woodson, who fumbled twice and had one pass intercepted and certainly didn't look like the "leader of the pack" in the Heisman race as tabbed by The New York Times. That trip to New York may not look so promising after the performance Thursday. I give them a 'A' here.
2.SC Defense has to play at their best --- The Gamecocks put the brakes on the UK team that averages 46.6 points a game. Thank God for the defense b/c DE Eric Norwood helped to win the game with a 2 TD performance. The two fumble returns for touchdowns tied an NCAA record. I give them a "A" here also.
3. Capitalize on UK mistakes --- UK had 4 TOs and the big ones were 2 forced fumbles, which they scored on, and got a INT in the endzone- not to mention some timely UK penalites and I feel this was a "A+" performance here.

4. Smelley must be perfect --- Redshirt freshman Chris Smelley had an uneven performance against Kentucky, but he threw for more yards than Heisman Trophy candidate Andre' Woodson (256 to 227). Smelley was 17-for-30 with two touchdowns and no turnovers in his second start since replacing senior Blake Mitchell. He was not wonderful but when the time counted he played well....a "B+" here.

5. SC must Control the Game --- SC split the time of possession stat with each team having the ball about 30 mins. SC held UK to 3 of 11 on 3rd downs but game up 171 in kickoff yards. SC punted 6 times to UK's 3 but the bright spot was the SC was loud and the gamecock crowd was in the game the entire game...I give them a "B-" here.

Final Stats HERE.

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