Rapid Reaction: Gamecocks handle Furman, snap two-game skid
A few quick thoughts from South Carolina’s 41-10 win over Furman on Saturday:
RELATED: ESPN analyst claims All-American OL Cann is tipping plays
What it means: The Gamecocks didn’t cover, but captured their first win in nearly a month against the FCS Paladins.
What I liked: South Carolina’s balanced offense, one that relied heavily on the ground game. Running backs Mike Davis and David Williams provided solid performances while Dylan Thompson completed 14-of-22 passes for 262 yards and two scores. Davis rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, giving him three consecutive 100-yard outings. Williams, in the first extended action of his career, tallied 110 yards on 11 attempts.
What I didn’t like: Pass protection. The offensive line crumbled at times and struggled picking up the blitz, giving up a couple of sacks including one that led to a Thompson turnover on a fumble. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s first game away from the sideline in the coaches box up top didn’t help against the run (211 yards allowed), but the Gamecocks were much-improved on third down and seemed to tackle better.
Who’s the man: In his first appearance for the Gamecocks, former Marine and walk-on defensive Michael Washington recovered a fumble in the first quarter with Furman driving inside the South Carolina red zone. The takeaway was one of a season-high three on the day for the Gamecocks who had forced an SEC-low five coming in.
Key play: Thompson’s first touchdown pass, a well-thrown corner route to Shaq Roland, provided the Gamecocks with a 7-0 lead and capped an eight-play, 92-yard drive after Furman punted on its first possession.
What’s next: The Gamecocks travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium next Saturday night to battle Auburn, a team South Carolina hasn’t beaten since 1933. “We’ll need to get back to playing the way we did against Georgia,” Steve Spurrier said after Saturday’s win.