Sunday, October 21, 2007

Offense a no show...

Count it, 6 quarters now without a touchdown. The offense just could not get anything going. Here are the Grades to the earlier post about 5 keys to a win, which we all know now was a upset win for Vandy.

1. USC must continue to make the most of scoring opportunities.....The Gamecocks have managed just two field goals in their last 23 possessions over six quarters dating back to the second half of last week’s 21-15 win at North Carolina. USC got inside the VU 10 once. Vandy's punter was the MVP in my book, he had six punts pinned USC inside its 20-yard line. The only USC opportunity to score inside the 10, well it ended before the snap. Spurrier was going for it on fourth-and-2 at the 9 with less than a minute to go in the first half -- they were called for illegal substitution. Spurrier changed his mind, settling for a 32-yard field goal by Ryan Succop to cut lead to 17-6 at halftime. Also with the other opportunity to score was when SC drove to the Vanderbilt 13-yard line trailing by 11 early in the second half but Smelley throws another INT. The grade here is a "F."

2. USC O Line must be better.... Well not good here either and the root of the problem. Four of the five starting linemen were called for a false start. VU also tied a school record with seven sacks for 50 yards. Five of the sacks came on first or second down, all but one setting the offense back far enough that it could not convert. In the second quarter, South Carolina drove to the Vanderbilt 18, only to give up a sack on first down and end up settling for a field goal. USC’s other field goal came after a false-start penalty helped snuff out a red-zone chance. The Gamecocks had second-and-10 at the Vandy 17, were penalized and two plays later had to trot out kicker Ryan Succop. And the USC O line could not create running lanes - the Gamecocks rushed for just 86 yards on a season-low 22 carries. Grade here is a "F-."

3. The Two Headed Beast must flourish --- Both quarterbacks moved the team well at times. Smelley was 14-of-24 for 154 yards, and Mitchell was 9-of-18 for 102. BUT the killer was not throwing the ball away and taking sacks and those dang INTs they threw (3 INTs total). Both also made bad reads and threw in double, triple and quadruple coverage. Where is Beecher? Grade is a "F+."

4. If you see blood, go for the kill--- USC could not find any luck out TO's for USC to take advantage of and Vandy executed the field position game perfectly. Not to mention USC was 1-for-12 on third down. Really no chance to do anything on this "key" b/c they could not get things clicking and when the game was in need of a TD, it seemed like we were in slow hurry up offense or anything. Gotta go with a "F."

5. SC must contain Earl Bennett---USC kept All-SEC receiver Earl Bennett in check. Bennett had two catches for 24 yards — his lowest output since 2005 — and fell a reception shy of tying the SEC career record held by Kentucky’s Craig Yeast. The Commodores tried to get Bennett involved in the running game, but his three carries netted 10 yards. Going with a "A+" here b/c he was not a factor thank god...just think of he was.

What was key to a Vandy win you say?....Well, The Gamecocks’ first two possessions ended with turnovers — a Smelley interception and a fumble by Cory Boyd — that Vanderbilt cashed in for scores. Vandy began five consecutive drives in USC territory and the Commodores’ average starting field position in the first half was the Gamecocks’ 49-yard line; which equals 17 points in the 1st half and enough to win. Big reason -USC O-line was just flat out bad!

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