- Qayvon Hicks is a huge boost to what we want to do offensively. 4 carries for 28 yards only tells part of the story. Once again, when we were backed up to our goal line, we turn to him to get us some space. That little slip pass to him on 3rd down for 23 yards not only got breathing room and a first down, it also sparked that 79 yard 8+minute drive. Give Bobo credit for pulling that one out there, but with out Hicks, no way we run that play.
- The defense grew up before our eyes. We have a long way to go before we are among the better Ds in the conference. We still have plenty of work to do on coverage schemes, particularly on one side and with the LBs picking up zone coverage. And the wheel route. As the game progresses, we improved tackling, lane control, coverage, and stopping the zone read. The one hiccup was the same running play for 75 yards that the Gamecocks ran against UNC (which was very well blocked). The goal line stand was spectacular. I mean probably the best stop we've had in five years. I'm not ready to proclaim all is well. However, it is a long way from last week's performance.
- While it won't happen, this should quiet the 'Murray big game fail' crowd. I'll get to Gurley in a minute, but if you think this game was won without Murray's help, you won't ever be convinced. 17/23, 309 yards, 4TDs, 0 ints. At least four of the incompletes were straight up dropped passes. He never threw a pass I thought was going to be an interception. He did a great job reading the defense and setting blocking schemes. He used his legs (and field vision) to make plays of nothing.
- The offensive line looked better. Like the D, I'm not proclaiming the Oline fixed, but it played a much better game than against Clemson. Clowney had a sack and 4 tackles. We'll see about the Gates injury, but we did a better job rotating bodies in and it paid off. They did a much better job with run blocking.
- Our running backs are the best in the nation. I'm not just talking about about Gurley and Marshall. We had a true Freshman RB in to get key yards in the game ending drive. That Freshman wasn't named Jones, Henry, or Dye. He was a last minute flip from Georgia Tech named Douglas. We have enough depth at TB that we can run in a Freshman TB/FB hybrid when the situation warrants. I've discussed Hicks above. And Guley is a man among boys. For that matter Marshall ran with much better balance this week.
This was a good win. South Carolina is a good football team. Shaw did Shaw stuff, and their offense nearly always seemed to have the right play for the situation dialed up. They have a very good defense, too. It wasn't the outright tail whipping I wanted, but it was a lot more of a beating than just 11 points, too.