Analysis: Mistake-Free Game Provides USC Win

When the Gamecocks entered Saturday's game against the #11 ranked Georgia Bulldogs, the general belief was that USC would have to play a near perfect ball game to win in Athens, GA. Well, the perfect game never appeared, but a steady ball control offense, and a dominant "bend but don't break" Gamecock defense provided a 16-12 victory for the visitors from Columbia, South Carolina.

Following a week full of fan skepticism about the USC defense and the lack of point production against underdog, non-conference foe Louisiana-Lafayette, the Gamecock supporters were dancing in the streets of Athens, high-fiving in the sports bars and bragging about the great defensive stands, individual plays and wonderful defensive play calling by Tyrone Nix, the USC Defensive Coordinator.

USC's offense only found the end zone once to go along with three field goals, but the one statistic that must not go unnoticed is the Gamecocks had no turnovers. USC was able to avoid significant mistakes that often have framed the doom of an otherwise impressive upset bid performance. For the second week in a row, seemingly adverse situations presented to the USC defensive unit were met with poise, intensity and individual plays that deserve highlight recognition.

While the offense did not excite the loyal fan base with point production, a consistent running attack with a safe and average passing effort led to enough ball control to allow the Gamecock defense to be fresh throughout the ball game and keep the hosting Bulldogs out of the end zone all day. Georgia's sensational freshman, Knowshon Moreno, gained 104 yards on 14 carries, but 48 yards came on one play, leaving the remaining Georgia running game with a net 13 yards.

The lone turnover for the game came as a game-saving interception by USC defensive leader Jasper Brinkley, after his teammates converged on a Matthew Stafford pass late in the ballgame on Georgia's final attempt at a comeback victory.

USC's 7 play 62 yard touchdown scoring drive on its second possession in the 1st quarter proved to be the stimuli that ignited a great team effort and a sound road win for the Gamecocks at one of the most hostile environments for opponents to play at in the SEC.

While USC will need to get more production from its passing offense, Blake Mitchell showed his senior leadership in spreading the ball to seven different receivers in connecting on 20 of 31 passes and no interceptions.

During post game interviews, both Cory Boyd and Jasper Brinkley were very emotional about the victory, but were extremely poised in recognizing that this is only one step in a week by week march towards a potential opportunity to compete for the SEC Championship. Fans can clearly see the confidence and maturity of the various leaders of this USC football team.

With no significant injuries lurking, USC now prepares for the historic interstate college football game against South Carolina State University, a historically Black College founded in 1896. This will be the first football meeting of these two significant higher education institutions. Unfortunately for the second set of Bulldogs in as many weeks, this will be a week wherein the Gamecocks will be looking to sharpen an offense that has been able to move the football against two opponents, but have failed to put up Spurrier-like numbers on the scoreboard, something that appears to be on the mend this week. Look to see a real aggressive spread attack with improved passing efficiency and point production early in this ball game.

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