Sacks and Sacked: Gamecocks pass rush shows signs of life
South Carolina remains the SEC’s worst pass rushing defense through 13 weeks, but the Gamecocks defensive front finally began showing signs of life in a Week 13 win over South Alabama.
The Gamecocks recorded three sacks against the Jags, and those three sacks now represents one-fourth of their season total through 13 weeks. That’s right — the same defense that needed 12 weeks to record just nine sacks managed to put together three in one game last weekend. Regardless of the opponent that’s a huge confidence-builder for South Carolina as it prepares for its big rivalry game on Saturday against Clemson.
Missouri and Mississippi State flip-flopped again at the top of the SEC, and this week its Mizzou that leads the conference in sacks and sack yardage. The Tigers are up to 38 sacks on the year after a six-sack performance in a win over Tennessee. Mississippi State recorded a modest two sacks in a 51-0 rout of Vanderbilt.
Ironically, Tennessee’s three sacks against Missouri were the second-highest total in the conference last week only behind Missouri’s six sacks against UT. Florida also recorded three sacks in its 52-3 win over Eastern Kentucky.
Every SEC team in play in Week 13 recorded at least one sack.
Here’s a full rundown of every SEC defense’s sack and tackles for loss totals so far this season:
|Team||Sacks||Sack Yards||Tackles For Loss|
|2. Mississippi State||35||217||75|
|4. Texas A&M||31||149||63|
|9. Ole Miss||22||185||81|
|14. South Carolina||12||111||41|
In a strange turn of events. the same Auburn team that allowed nine sacks in its first 12 games of 2014 allowed three to Samford of the FCS in Saturday’s win on the plains. The Tigers have still allowed the second-fewest sacks in the SEC this season, but they were passed by arch-rival Alabama, which has only allowed 10 sacks this year and allowed zero in a win over Western Carolina.
The Tide has been sacked two fewer times than Auburn this season despite attempting 95 more passes over the course of the year. Alabama has also allowed just 49 tackles for loss on the season, third-fewest in the SEC behind Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
Tennessee’s woeful offensive line appeared to have turned a corner when dual-threat signal caller Joshua Dobbs took over under center, but that did not hold true in Saturday’s loss to Missouri. The Vols allowed 30 sacks in their first eight games of the season but then allowed only three in their next two. However, they reverted back to their old ways by allowing six sacks to the Tigers in a home loss Saturday night.
Georgia and South Carolina joined Alabama as the only other SEC teams to avoid a sack in Week 13. The Dawgs had no trouble dispensing of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers while the Gamecocks took down South Alabama.
Here’s a full rundown of each SEC team’s offensive line play so far this season:
|Team||Sacks Allowed||Sack Yards Allowed||Tackles For Loss Allowed|
|T6. Mississippi State||18||115||49|
|9. South Carolina||20||165||48|
|T10. Texas A&M||22||157||53|
|12. Ole Miss||25||134||75|
Missouri’s Shane Ray only recorded a half-sack during the Tigers sack-fest in Tennessee, but he remains the SEC’s leader in sacks this season with 13.5. Texas A&M freshman Myles Garrett remains No. 2 in the conference despite sitting out last week during A&M’s final bye of the season. He and Ray remain the only players in the conference with double digit sacks this season.
Tennessee’s Curt Maggitt broke into the top 5 in the SEC in sack total following a Week 12 win over Kentucky, and he continued his rise all the way to No. 3 in the conference following Saturday’s loss to Mizzou. Maggitt tied teammate Derek Barnett, whose nine sacks would have broken Jadeveon Clowney’s freshman sack record of eight had Garrett not beaten him to it.
Markus Golden posted his second straight monstrous game in the win over the Vols, adding two sacks to his season total to lead all individuals in the conference in Week 13. He now has 8.5 on the year and four in his last two games.
Golden pushed Mississippi State’s Preston Smith out of the top 5 in sack total this season after Smith was shut out in a win over Vandy. Nevertheless, Smith did record a tackle for loss for a 10th straight game, bringing his total to 13.5 on the season, which ranks fourth in the SEC.
Ray, Garrett, Barnett and Golden all rank in the top 5 in both categories. LSU’s Danielle Hunter fell out of the top 5 in tackles for loss while LSU enjoyed its final bye of the year last weekend.
Here’s a rundown of the SEC’s top 5 individuals in sacks and tackles for loss this season:
|1. Shane Ray||Missouri||DL||13.5|
|2. Myles Garrett||Texas A&M||DL||11.0|
|T3. Curt Maggitt||Tennessee||LB||9.0|
|T3. Derek Barnett||Tennessee||DL||9.0|
|5. Markus Golden||Missouri||DL||8.5|
|Name||Team||Position||Tackles For Loss|
|1. Shane Ray||Missouri||DL||19.5|
|2. Derek Barnett||Tennessee||DL||18.5|
|3. Markus Golden||Missouri||DL||14.0|
|4. Preston Smith||Mississippi State||DL||13.5|
|5. Myles Garrett||Texas A&M||DL||12.5|