Friday, September 04, 2009

An ugly Gamecocks win is still a Gamecock win


The South Carolina Gamecocks victory, the tenth straight season opener that the Gamecocks have won, was ugly but it is a win.
It wasn't as bad as last year but the result is the same for N.C. State. South Carolina's defense held up an early touchdown to hand N.C. State a 7-3 loss in the season-opener on Thursday at Carter-Finley Stadium before a joke of a "white-out" attempt.

The Gamecocks amassed only 256 yards worth of total offense and scored just once – on a 1-yard Brian Maddox touchdown run following an N.C. State turnover – but a stellar defensive effort lifted South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 SEC) to the season-opening victory. Preseason All-SEC linebacker Eric Norwood flashed his NFL-caliber skills with two sacks and a near fumble recovery, while freshman cornerback Stephon Gilmore helped seal the win late in the fourth quarter with a critical pass deflection on the Wolfpack’s final fourth down play.

South Carolina held N.C. State (0-1, 0-0 ACC) to just 133 yards of total offense – including a measly 74 yards passing from star quarterback Russell Wilson. Starting quarterback Stephen Garcia completed 13 of 22 passes for 148 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The sophomore did “ice” the win late in the fourth quarter with a 33-yard completion to senior wideout Moe Brown, who made a leaping catch to give Carolina a critical first down with just over two minutes remaining on the clock.
On the ground, Maddox paced South Carolina with 66 rushing yards on 23 carries, but after a promising first quarter the Gamecock rushing attack was bottled up the rest of the way by the Wolfpack.

Interesting Highlights
  • The only Gamecock scoring drive consisted of 14 yards thanks to Toney Baker’s fumble right out of the gate.
  • The Wolfpack averaged 2.3 yards per play.
  • South Carolina missed two "gimme" field goals. I MISS SUCCOP!
  • Russell Wilson threw for just 74 and was sacked 6 times.

Game Summary
N.C. State fumbled on its first snap on offense, at its own 14-yard line, which led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Brian Maddox with 9:10 left in the first quarter. It was the game's only touchdown. State, trailing 7-3, had a chance to pull ahead late in the fourth but Jay Smith dropped a would-be 32-yard touchdown pass in the end zone. South Carolina forced a turnover on downs and bled out the clock for its second consecutive season-opening win over the Wolfpack.

Interesting DYKs:
  • Eric Norwood’s two sacks moved him past John Abraham on the all-time list at South Carolina. He’s just two sacks behind Andrew Provence for the school record. Norwood is also just 3.5 sacks away from being in the top ten all-time in the SEC.
  • Lowest yards allowed by the Gamecocks (133) since last year’s NC State game (138
  • Gamecocks have won 10 straight season openers
  • Coach Spurrier is 19-1 in season openers
  • Last night’s game was the first time Patrick DiMarco had multiple carries in one game
  • In Spurrier's four seasons (plus one game) at South Carolina and his 12 years at Florida, Spurrier's teams never won a game scoring so few points. The fewest points in wins was 14 points and that happened twice -- 1992 over South Carolina and 2005 over Arkansas.
  • Wilson set an ACC record with 272 consecutive passes without an interception. Florida State’s Drew Weatherford held the record with 270 set in 2007.
Game Recaps:

Quote to remember:“I’m going to get more involved,” Spurrier said Thursday night. About offense play calling in the future.

Next up:
The 'Dawgs

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