Congratulations, friends! We made it. The first game of the 2013 football season has (after an absurd lightning delay) concluded, and our Gamecocks have come out on top. However, as it was the first game of the season, there was bound to be a few moments that left us scratching our heads, or feeling like a million bucks. Here are a few moments that stood out particularly.
- Mike Davis' 75 yard scamper to the end-zone. The sophomore tailback was able to find a small crease in the offensive line, cut to the outside of the field, and outran three UNC players for the score. While watching the play you'll notice a safety who was caught with his pants down as he overran the play. However, the speed of Davis is what really caught my eye. After conducting a very scientific (iphone) timing, it seems that Mr. Davis traversed 40 yards in around 4.2 seconds. Kudos go to the entire RB staff as they posted 228 yards, averaging 6 a carry.
- Connor Shaw's pass to Shaq Roland. Quarterback Connor Shaw airmailed a 6 point bomb to sophomore wide out Shaq Roland, which set the tone for the game. The pass was beautiful, Roland ran an excellent route, and suddenly it was 7-0. This catch was of particular importance as the team hopes Roland can become a deep ball threat on a consistent basis.
- The Weather. Yesterday temperatures soared to 95 degrees, with a heat index of 103 at 4:00pm. Not only that, but that
"famously hot" awful humidity we all know and love stayed around 80-90% for most of the game. It was brutal.
- Dylan Thompson's one play of the game. It's never hard rooting for the backup quarterback, and in Dylan Thompson's case, it's just plain easy. The guy never complains, has shown zero ego while at Carolina, and does exactly what he's asked to do. "Hey Dylan, go throw a TD." "You got it coach!" - One 29 yard throw to walk-on Kane Whitehurst and the Gamecocks are up 17-0.
- The entire defense. Right now ESPN is blowing up with how defensive end Jadeveon Clowney "looked tired, gassed, needs a breather." We urge you not to buy into the negative spin and take a look at what the defense accomplished as a whole. In 2012 UNC amassed over 400 yards of offensive in every game they played, and averaged 40 points a game. Against a relatively young Gamecock squad, they were only able to grab 293 yards, and 10 points. Not only that, but the Gamecocks showed a lot of moxie, providing two goal line stands.
- As the band took the field, I began to get a little worried: there were still a lot of empty seats. Then somewhere during the first 3 minutes of play I noticed my ears were ringing. Thanks to the 81,000 fans who showed up.
- The cheap shot. The ball is clearly out, the play is downfield, and a linemen dives at Jadeveon Clowney's knees.
- Victor Hampton's seeming lack of knowing how to wave an arm in the air, to signal a fair catch. Football players are high-caliber athletes who have forgotten more about their bodies in their short lifespan than most of us will ever learn in a lifetime. They're also very kinesthetically gifted and are, hopefully, comfortable doing precise physical tasks at high speeds. But it seems that Victor Hampton forgot (for three quarters) that he could A) NOT take a spearing, and B) NOT put 81,000 fans into momentary cardiac arrest every time there is a punt.
- Abandoning the running game in the second quarter. Yes, I realize we were up a few scores and we had an opportunity to get some players involved, but why did we seemingly abandon the running game in the second quarter, after such a productive first?
- Shaq Roland's dropped pass. By all standards Roland had a great evening. His first touchdown was beautiful, but dropping a ball like he did, in the end zone, is what will determine if this is an 11, or 12 win season. He has a lot of time to iron out the kinks, but this drop hurt.
- The weather. Holy Hell was it hot, then it rained, and then we sat under the stadium for almost two horrid hours. On the plus side, we got to sit pretty much where ever we wanted when play resumed, and I had a great chat with an SEC official as we waited for the storm to pass.