Random observations from last night’s SEC opener

Is this the quintessential Vanderbilt moment, or what?

Of course, let’s keep that in perspective:  even if the official had flagged Carolina on the play, it still meant Vanderbilt had to cover about half the field in about 100 seconds.  That was anything but a given for a team that amassed less than 300 total yards on the night.

Still, it helps make for a nice, warm moral victory.

On to a few specifics:

  • The game was closer than I thought it would be, for two reasons, both of which should be troubling to South Carolina.  First, the injury to Connor Shaw.  It’s funny – all those years we watched Stephen Garcia run recklessly and never get hurt and Shaw, a gamer who runs with a much more organized purpose than Garcia ever did, gets banged up.  The Gamecock offense, which wasn’t exactly lighting things up before Shaw was hurt, completely shut down in his absence.  And it’s not like Shaw won’t be facing a few formidable front sevens in October.  It’s a little scary to consider how much is going to be left of him after the Florida game.
  • The second reason, the shocker of the night, was how much South Carolina missed Alshon Jeffery.  Especially the threat of Alshon Jeffery.  The ‘Cocks gained a whopping 67 yards through the air.  Their leading receiver was Marcus Lattimore.  Shaw couldn’t throw anything longer than an intermediate-level pass with any authority, even before his injury.  (There was only one completion of as much as 20 yards and that was to the tight end.)
  • Lattimore wasn’t 100 percent, but he was still the best player on the field.  The Vanderbilt defense keyed on him, which allowed Shaw to rack up almost 100 yards rushing, but still, when it came down to crunch time, Lattimore showed he had it in him to take over a game.  He’s got some rust to shake off, but he’ll get better.  He’ll have to.
  • For all the smart-assery we’ve heard from the OBC about the schedule, I bet he’s not too unhappy right now about Georgia not being his week two opponent.
  • The South Carolina secondary is definitely the weak link on the defense.  And there are some passing attacks that are going to take advantage of that.
  • The “SEC – Year of the Quarterback” meme took a hit last night.  I’ve already mentioned Shaw’s deficiencies.  Rodgers looked like the same erratic passer he was last year.  He did have that nice 78-yard hookup with Jordan Matthews, but he had more than his fair share of head scratchers.
  • I really, really like Vanderbilt’s coaches.  Despite being obviously overmatched on both lines, they did everything they could to scratch, claw and compensate for that.  The Vandy defense, in particular, looks like it’s going to be a pain in the ass to deal with.
  • And I thought Lorenzo Ward did a competent job masking the weakness of his secondary.  Take away that one busted play in coverage that allowed Vandy’s touchdown of the night and there wasn’t a whole bunch else.  He’ll do all right this year.
  • It sure looks a lot easier to kick off for a touchback.
  • Who thought a Spurrier-coached team would be so boring?

For Vanderbilt, it’s going to be a year when everyone talks about grit, determination and being well-coached.  Not so much about winning, though.  For all their toughness, the Commodores held a 13-10 second half lead against a team with a one-armed quarterback… and lost.  There’s still too much of a talent gap in Nashville.  Vandy isn’t going to upset a better team without help on the turnover front, and even then, as last night showed, that’s not always going to happen.

South Carolina is a deeper team than it’s ever been and that helped last night.  But you have to wonder how far the Gamecocks can go with that passing attack, even if Shaw stays healthy going forward.  You also have to wonder if South Carolina’s front seven can do enough to compensate for the back four against a team with a more consistent passing game than Vanderbilt’s.  The OBC would seem to have his work cut out for him.

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129 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, James Franklin Is Ready To Rumble

129 responses to “Random observations from last night’s SEC opener

  1. DugLite (formerly The other other Doug)

    You know Connor Shaw has to be hurting this morning. I bet he didn’t sleep well last night. Looked to me like a separated shoulder. That Vanderbilt defender hit his knee in just the right spot to separate it. No malice was intended and then that tackle where Connor was upended and he landed flat on his back. You could see the shoulder moving as it is not intended. Gonna be a long year for the cock lovers.

    • I texted my buddies the same thing in the 4th qtr, I said “Shaw is playing on adrenaline (and probably cortisone) right now, but that shoulder is gonna hurt like a sonofabitch in the morning”. I’m sure he’ll be back by their Missouri game, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he misses the next couple of weeks or so.

      • The Lone Stranger

        And ECU is not a bad team by any means. The Cocks could have a tussle on their hands in next weeks’ game.

  2. NC Dawg

    My thoughts: Lattimore in a knee brace was down to humans status. Shaw is one tough cookie. Vandy got slightly jobbed on the non PI call, but the better team won. USC looked eminently beatable.

    • gastr1

      As you can see clearly in the replay, the referee was right there and looking right at it. Had as clear a view as they ever get, I’d bet, and called nothing.

      It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder.

      • Gravidy

        It’s the kind of thing we see go against Georgia at least a half dozen times a year.

      • pantslesspatdye

        I think he was making up for the missed call against Vandy in the 1st quarter. I’m not excusing it, but it happens.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Which call do you mean? I don’t recall anything as obvious.

          • pantslesspatdye

            The Vandy defender never made a play on the ball, just barrelled into a leaping receiver on a catchable ball. It was probably about a 20 yardish pass that obviously would have kept their drive alive. Perhaps not as obvious as an elbow claw, but obvious nonetheless.

      • The Lone Stranger

        I used to wonder , but I don’t so much anymore. I am lining up more solidly behind The Mayor in his assertion that there is a narrative that is pushed by the SEC home office to favor given teams in certain situations throughout the season. It hurts to watch football games with that in mind, but I cannot logically make sense of so many blatantly missed rulings.

        And who wants to bet this is the crew the Dawgs draw against USCe? This must be the cream, right, they having worked the opening night game.

        • dboy

          Yea, im not a conspiracy theorist, but it is more than a trend that the favored, top 10 SEC team get the critical call against a lower ranked opponent. Especially toward the end of the season and the favored team is poised for a BCS berth. It has happened over and over x 5 years or so…back to the florida Corch / Tebow days.

          • Will (the other one)

            The Florida Arkansas game and UT/Bama games in 2008/2009 were particularly bad, ref-wise. Especially that Arky game.

        • Just Chuck (the other one)

          The alternative hypothesis is that SEC officials are mostly incompetent. I’m not ruling that out.

  3. NateG

    It was amusing to watch Jesse Palmer talk about how Georgia was so lucky with it’s schedule. Then, by the end of the game when it was obvious Carolina was in no way ready to face a team like the Dawgs appear to be, South Carolina was the lucky one. Just goes to show what a crock of shit this schedule whining is.

    • Will (the other one)

      That, and it made me wish Jesse Palmer had joined Craig James in running for some sort of political office….

  4. Spike

    That was a bad no call by the ref, to be sure. Vandy was scrappy. They will beat somebody. I just hope it is not us.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The game was decided by 2 calls. The first was in the first half where Clowney was clearly in the neutral zone, a Vandy lineman jumped and a 48 yard Vandy field goal got taken off the board because of a bogus procedure call on Vandy. One of the TV announcers even said it at the time. The penalty took Vandy out of field goal range. Those 3 points changed the way the end of game scenario played out completely (all Vandy would have needed to win would have been a FG). The other is the call you referenced above. There was clear pass interference on that play as repeatedly shown by multiple replays. If the Vandy receiver catches that pass Vandy has a first down at about the Cock’s 35 with a minute to play. This type of outcome determining call or no-call by SEC refs has happened with such frequency that one cannot believe it is an accident–and the calls always go in favor of the team that is considered “better.” There is something crooked going on here. The fact that it happens so frequently and that the SEC office never seems to do anything about getting rid of the offending refs screams that the SEC front office is in on it. The SEC is fixing games and the SEC honchos are doing. Slive–it’s all about the $$ with him and anything to get the top-rated teams in the SEC into the highest paying bowls is what he is all about. This crooked refs thing started about the time Slive showed up as Commish. Not a coincidence, IMHO.

      • HahiraDawg

        PI isn’t a spot foul in college. Vandy would have had it barely in USCe’s territory.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Thanks, HD. You are right. The Dores only would have gotten a first down at about the Cocks’ 40. But the bad call came on 4th down and effectively ended the game. Same effect. And it wasn’t an accident.

          • Jerry Rogers

            What does it matter. PI should have been called and it does not matter where the ball would have been placed. This discussion about if it would have helped Vandy or not is silly. And it was so obvious and the ref., if that is what he is, was looking right at ti.

      • gastr1

        I didn’t see the game, but this

        “Clowney was clearly in the neutral zone, a Vandy lineman jumped and a 48 yard Vandy field goal got taken off the board because of a bogus procedure call on Vandy”

        –if described accurately– would have been a correctly-called penalty on Vandy, yes? Can’t the defense can be in the neutral zone prior to the snap of the ball as long as they don’t touch anyone? And the OL cannot move in any case until the ball is snapped, so the penalty would have been on Clowney only if the center snapped the ball when Clowney was in the NZ. If an OL moves after getting set it’s always on the OL unless someone is touched or the defender crosses the line of scrimmage, thus going past the NZ.

        Is that right?

        • ugadawg9288

          In cases like last night, no. According to the NCAA rule book, Section 18 Article 2 (Offside) If a player is in or beyond the neutral zone when the ball is snapped OR (as what happened last night) he “threaten’s an offensive lineman, causing an immediate reaction, before the ball is snapped.”

          Clowney jumped into the NZ, causing a reaction from the Left Guard of Vandy, and, of course, the zebras penalize Vandy for it.

          • The Lone Stranger

            But the attendant argument made by the TV crew was that Clowney lunged but stayed out of the NZ, legally enticing the VU lineman to jump. From the replay angle it was hard to be totally sure if he trespassed into the NZ, but I believe he did. (Of course, the SEC has a ref right on the line of scrimmage — and he would be objective. Right? Right??!!!!)

            • ugadawg9288

              As the rule reads, if a defensive player jumps and causes a reaction from an offensive lineman, it’s offside. (S 18, A 2-D in the 2012 NCAAF rule book)

              • gastr1

                Regardless of the neutral zone?
                I went back and watched it and it did appear that it should have been on SC, as the Mayor said…I think they still would have had to kick the FG over, though.

          • gastr1

            Thanks for the clarification! Not being snarky–Does the rulebook really actually have a misplaced apostrophe like that in “threaten’s”?

  5. Spike

    And can somebody please how Jesse Palmer how to properly tie a necktie? What a goober.

  6. I thought both teams looked average at best. Franklin’s play calling was just crazy at times and probably cost him the game.
    The worst thing I saw was another horrible, inexuseable blown call by an SEC ref. He was right there.The whole world saw it and so did he. So you’ve gotta ask , “Why?…why wouldn’t he call such a blatant pass interference?”. I don’t care who won, and even though Vandy would still have to go a long way, they deserved the chance. Once again, we see an SEC ref’s ineptness or crookedness (if the shoe fits, wear it) very possibly determine the outcome of a game. I don’t want to lose like that (again) and I don’t want to win like that.
    Also, the player with the worst shoulder pain may be Vandy’s right defensive end…His arm was almost pulled off several times during pass rushes. I think it was called once. Bottom line….I hate the SEC refs. I don’t trust them one bit.
    My pic in the pool took a hit on the point spread. I’m 0-1

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1 Ug. See my post above.

    • The Lone Stranger

      These refereeing decisions can truly turn a man away from actual gambling. It is entirely possible that two totally objective decisions changed the outcome last evening. The disallowed first half FG; the non-PI call. Those get called correctly and I believe Vandy wins. Their kicker seems very accurate, he just does not have a 55-yard leg.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        These ref decisions could turn a man away from watching football. That no-call on PI offended my sense of fair play and ruined the whole dadgum game for me. I cannot imagine the ref did not see it. We need replay and challenges, one of the few things we should borrow from the NFL.

  7. Biggus Rickus

    How did South Carolina go from having a bunch of 6’5″ wide receivers to having nobody taller than 5’9″? They might be able to squeak out wins over teams like Vandy with that offense (at least until Shaw goes out for the year), but I’m not even sure they’ll beat Florida if that’s as good as their passing game is going to be. Of course, it’s the first game, so it may not be completely representative of their potential.

    • Castleberry

      That was an interesting stat. I sae that and wondered… Is Willie Martinez their receivers coach?

    • That 5’9″ stat is crazy. I don’t know how you possibly think you can win in the SEC with 5″9″ and under WRs. You would think an offensive genius like Spurrier would realize this. Seriously, if I’m recruiting WRs for an SEC team, height is a major considerations. DBs are getting bigger, and most college quarterbacks simply have not developed enough to consistently hit those smaller targets.

  8. Good analysis, Senator. The Gamecock front 7 certainly is going to be stout, but Vandy gashed them at times. Clowney just appears to be a man among boys. I hope Gates is ready for him. I’m not sure the Cocks can beat any team with a pulse on offense if they play like that the rest of the year.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Yeah, Clowney is a big, fast dude, but he sure seemed to disappear from time to time, against an offensive line that would be small in some Georgia high schools.

      • Irwin R Fletcher

        He looked gassed most of the game…and when he would get gassed, he would compensate by attacking too hard from the snap and would take himself out of the play through simple misdirection.

        Vandy has some coaches….but Rogers is limited. He isn’t his brother, as much as ESPN who will probably have Vandy on TV 5-7 games this year want him to be. There is a reason he is 24 and hasn’t started a full season in D1 yet. He’s got talent, but isn’t an elite QB. (or at least hasn’t proven it). Not to mention their receivers are pretty raw, too.

        Marcus Lattimore is a man. I kept thinking after they had bottled him up most of the 2nd half that he would break a big run if they kept going to him…sure enough. He had 4 plays of over 8 yards in the 4Q including runs of 11 and 23 yards. Carolina had the ball 10:18 in the 4Q….Lattimore is the ulimate 4Q weapon in a close game.

        • Ryan

          I think a lot of Lattimore’s late runs has to do with Vandy’s depth and USCe being a… sigh… legitimate SEC program.

          It’s like how you see all those almost-upsets scroll across the ESPN ticker. The fbs teams might have the ability to give them a game for a half or 3 quarters, but superior athletes playing 60 minutes will always be in a position to win in the 4th quarter.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            “superior athletes playing 60 minutes will always be in a position to win in the 4th quarter.”

            Gulp

            • dboy

              “superior athletes playing 60 minutes will always be in a position to win in the 4th quarter.”

              -True, See the SEC championship game LSU vs UGA.

              This is why we need a full compliment of scholarship players. We will beat 95% of teams due to our first string talent level… but when we play LSU / Alabama, we will be at a disadvantage. They have stellar depth and our player wear down playing nearly every snap while they are constantly subbing. This is especially important on defense. We wilted numerous times late in games last year. Most notably LSU and secondarily vs Mich St. The fact all those defensive players forgo the NFL and returned to UGA gives us some hope, not only from the skill and experience that they bring, but it dramatically increases our depth at those positions.

          • The Lone Stranger

            It is Vandy of lore (at least in their good years). Play right with the power teams for 3 quarters but lose by either an agonizing mistake or seeming official incompetence.

  9. Castleberry

    I would like a Chris Brown style breakdown of the zone read play against the 3/4. With what I saw from Shaw and the small receivers, we should take our chances in man coverage and load up to stop that play.

  10. Jrod1229

    Things I noticed of note:
    – As predicted.. Clowney was gassed. He played limited snaps last year and now that he is playing the whole time.. he is struggling in the 4th quarter. We’ll have to see how that plays itself out over the next few weeks.
    – It was noted Shaw’s arm strength is weak.. I think it was most evident in that first TD attempt.. his WR had the break and was wide open.. Shaw threw it a bit late, but with any zip on it it’s a TD.. instead it should of been a pick but was batted away easily.
    – Branden Smith will be extremely valuable in our game.. for once he will be the same size as the WR he’s lined up against.

  11. AthensHomerDawg

    The Adorables sacked uSC 3 times and forced two turnovers. Then outgained South Carolina 276-272 in total offense. I thought the stats were fairly even. Vandy left 10 points on the field. Getting inside the Cock-a-doodle-doos 5 and not scoring which Latty promptly took advantage of. The penalty which nullified the long fg. Looked to me that uSC was in the neutral zone. I thought there was some suspect calls including that pass interference no call. The OBC probably didn’t sleep much last night and Shaw is still in the whirlpool.

  12. HobnailedBoots

    They’re in trouble. Their O-line was getting whipped by a smallish defensive line, and that’s probably the easiest DL they’ll face in SEC play. Shaw looks incredibly pedestrian without Jeffrey. That secondary has big holes. October is going to be rough for the Fightin’ Poultry.

    • gastr1

      Even if their line gets better they still have very little at the skill positions outside of Lattimore. Shaw sucks.

      I love the irony of Spurrier having a running QB who can barely throw. He hasn’t been able to get any kind of decent QB to Columbia…you know that frustrates the hell out of him, and I love anything that sticks in Stevie’s craw.

    • Charles

      I said somewhere in a prior comment thread that S.Car. is this year’s iteration of Ole Miss 2009. It’ll be Spurrier’s best 7-5 team EVRZ!!!! This, I suspect, is why Spurrier trolled all summer about their schedule. They’re just not a good football team. I see losses against ARK, LSU, UGA, UF and Clemson.

      We’ll beat them by two touchdowns. If we hold onto the ball, and establish a running game early, it’ll get ugly for them fast.

  13. ScoutDawg

    Clowney was gassed in the FIRST half. He is in for a long season.

    • rocksalt

      +1, Pollack (DGD!) and Palmer were talking up Clowney, and I believe he had a TFL and a sack. But, he sure wasn’t the all-universe terror that we were expecting. Vandy’s left tackle was listed as a “playmaker” during the broadcast, so maybe he’s a grown man (how many times did Pollack say that during the broadcast?), but he was standing up Clowney a LOT. That, the QB, the O-line, and the smurf receivers…number 9 ranking may be a stretch.

      • The Lone Stranger

        The Cocks will always get a 5-spot bump in rankings as a direct result of having Spurrier. He is just a character, and subliminally AP voters judge that he is good for an extra win somewhere along the line.

  14. William

    Not to play Devil’s Advocate here, but please remember that teams generally improve between the first games and the second. Also, Vandy is not a door mat these days (please remember our game against them last year for referrence). So, USCe had a scrappy opener and looked rusty and flawed. And then they do what they normally do…….lean on Latty and their D. Did we really think their formula would be any different this year? to me, the only shocking part was how their front 4 didn’t seem to get great pressure. They had their LBs up at the line on almost every play. I believe this is why the secondary got exposed. It felt a little like a Free Willie D.

    • Russ

      I generally agree with this assessment. I think SC was playing it close to the vest, and when Shaw got hurt, then they really packed it in. Lattimore is still the man. I wasn’t that impressed with Clowny. He’s good, but I didn’t see “great” out there last night. And SEC officials can really stink it up. That non-call at the end of the game was terrible, though I still think SC wins even if the call is made.

      We’ll get a full game from SC, though we can definitely win. I still think we’ll whip Vandy by 2 TDs at least.

      • Jrod1229

        I don’t think USC was playing it ‘that’ close to vest.. maybe early.. but they quickly realized they could lose that game.

        • William

          I don’t think they were playing that close to vest either. I truly believe their offense is zone reads and Latty, all day long. Shaw gives them the threat of keepers on that play, as well as some option. Outside of that, I don’t see them airing it out. My point was, they will improve on this. I don’t think Shaw will suddenly become a more proficient passer, but they will clean up their offense and work on the D. They will give us fits, like they do every year. Vandy though……..I think Grantham smells blood in the water. I’d watch myself if I was them. They were scrappy, but man…….that offense stalled like my old Chevy Celebrity. And that D-Line of theirs got pushed around a good bit.

      • The Lone Stranger

        But do they still win if the score is 17-16 as it perhaps ought to have been? Spears, the VU placekicker, was dead straight last night and only missed the 3rd qtr. attempt because it was 52 yards out.

    • Drew

      This…

      My, my. A lot of brazen optimism today. Aren’t we the ones that generally start the season notoriously slow? Let’s see how Missouri goes before we get too excited.

  15. … and Craig James is gone from the Thursday night crew. You missed the best part.

  16. SECDAWG

    Hey Mr. Franklin, you’re still Vandy, no respect losers.

  17. Irishdawg

    I think SC could be better than what we saw last night, as they tend to look sloppy in the first game. Having said that, if Lattimore can’t go all season, THEY ARE SCREWED. And the kid is just coming off major surgery, Spurrier is not going to be able to work him to death like he wants.

    • DWH

      Agree with you about Lattimore. Without him, that offense is inept at best and downright horrendous at worst. They have literally nothing outside of him. And another thought: it’s going to be a miracle if Shaw can make it through this season in one piece playing like that. Kid is tough and I respect his desire to win, but he was getting his ass whipped last night. No way he can keep that up.

  18. I’m suprised that the cock trolls are absent this morning. I thought they’d be out early, crowing about being in first place.
    Come on out, you awesome roosters! Crow about it!

    • AusDawg85

      Give ‘em time. Natty Lite meth induced semi-coma’s are hard to overcome first thing in the morning.

  19. FisheriesDawg

    Has South Carolina’s Thursday night opener ever been remotely indicative of the quality of their team?

    I’ll wait to see a few more games before I decide whether or not they’re gonna be a cakewalk in October. It may still work out in our favor that we’re playing them late rather than early.

    • Biggus Rickus

      In that they usually aren’t very good, and they usually don’t look very good in the opener, yes, it’s pretty indicative.

  20. Dog in Fla

    The mascot formerly known as Russ says that based upon what he saw of last night’s game, SEC officiating promises to be just as, if not even more, shitty than it was last season. With the way OBC was bent over with hands on knees at the end of the game, Russ wonders why OBC was trying to lick his balls but guesses it could be because of South Carolina’s super-tough schedule. But the thing that really irritates Russ is that the Cocks couldn’t even cover the spread in the Jon Fabris Invitational.

  21. D.N. Nation

    Did Spurrier just forget to recruit WRs? I wouldn’t take any of those guys over King/Bennett/Mitchell/Brown.

  22. Smity

    The VANDY moment was throwing the INT on the 3 yard line for about an 80 yard return. That’s Vandy football right there.

  23. Billy Mumphrey

    Where are all the Cock fans that have been over here clucking for the last few weeks?

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Maybe we shoud help them out. Sun do shine Cocka-Doodle-Doos!

      • The Lone Stranger

        +1 … that’ll put the Cock in your Walk. Let’s play that the Sunday after the Dawgs storm through Columbia. “Pride comes before the fall” and all that, but I like The Grantham matched against the offensive personnel I saw last night.

  24. JAX

    1. The non-INT call serves Vandy right after their go-after-the-kneecap shots from last year.

    2. Getting over a severe knee injury usually takes two full years. RB’s can go after one year or a few months of rehab, but aside from a rare occasion, it’s a two year recovery. Think Lumpkin.

    3. SC’s front 7 is good and will get better, but the secondary will be exposed by the better passing games.

    4. I thought Vandy’s D played well, particularly their smallish Dline.

    5. A shoulder contusion is no small injury. That will linger for a long time.

  25. Turd Ferguson

    After watching that game, I’m honestly not sure that South Carolina will give us a much harder time than Vandy.

    • DWH

      Yep. Agree. More worried about Vandy than SC right now. Of course, that could change after a few more games, but the SC offense, outside of Lattimore, is pathetic.

  26. Nate Dawg

    It’s early yet but same ol same ol from the refs, a? Clowney was very unimpressive to me but, again, it’s early yet.. Anybody hear Palmer say Shaw remind him of Elway trying to get into the endzone in the SB? Elway- really?!? John Elway?!? Yeah, that’s what I thought about as Shaw dove at the goal line. That Palmer guy is good.
    And I had no idea Shaw’s arm was that unimpressive. I mean, it’s still early but how ya gonna get that better?

  27. Macallanlover

    The game went pretty much as I expected, close with Vandy finding a way to lose. That turnover at the goal line just ripped their guts out and they aren’t good enough to have a 10-14 point swing go against them. Give Vandy credit for scrapping, blast any Vandy friends you have for not showing up, and put aside any thoughts of SC doing the improbable and winning the East.

    SC has a very good defensive front, a good RB, and nothing else of note. I think they have 4-5 losses this year and their brief run at being relevant may be over. Clemson will over shadow them in recruiting the state of SC and they don’t have much to offer out of state prospects, particularly as their over the hill coach nears the end. He could barely get across the field at the end of the game. Until SC fans starting acting like Bammer fans, I had nothing against their program. Now I will enjoy watching them sink back to their traditional level of a struggling team hoping to make secondary bowls every few years to avoid Birmingham/Shreveport/Nashville. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group.

  28. Dawgwood

    One thing I got out of the game is that Vandy can HIT! They worked over Shaw when he was in there. But the Lattimore hit over the middle, and the hit on the TE were awesome. So, good defenses vs. bad offenses is what I saw last night.

    • mp

      On the Lattimore hit I swear that the ball never hit the ground before the Vandy defender picked it up. Maybe Vandy dropped it subsequently, but Vandy scooped it up as Lattimore was bobbling it over his shoulder on the ground.

      • ugadawg9288

        Personally, I thought Lattimore caught it, turned and then got hit, dropping the ball. Which should have been a fumble, not an incomplete pass.

        • The Lone Stranger

          …and I also didn’t like to see a flag thrown on Hal #23 for the hit on SC’s tight end. You can argue it both ways, but for me that was a guy trying to prevent a long pass completion and not a malicious cheap shot. Those 15 yards helped in forging the 17-13 SC lead.

          • Cojones

            It’s called separating the man from the ball. Although unintentional, it was close enough to the new rules for them to use as an excuse to flag it. If ‘Tree had been the hitter, they would have had to get us back into the stands after that call.

            • AthensHomerDawg

              If Tree had been the hitter I don’t believe the TE end would have hopped right back up. He would have been helped up….. and led to the sideline with one or two teammates for him to lean on. Gonna be some slobber knockin’ in Chickumbia by a solid Georgia D.
              just sayin’

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I thought so, too. Amazing how all these bad calls go one way, isn’t it?

    • Cojones

      Dawgwood, you finally said what objective observers saw. Many are blaming the whole thing on a down SC offense. Vandy’s hits had as much to do with it as anything. We agree. Vandy’s D is not to be taken lightly.

  29. pantslesspatdye

    I was definately cheering against Spurrier, but did anyone else notice the Vandy D-Line was lined up off-sides most of the evening?

  30. I noticed the time between some of the snaps, especially when Vandy was on a late first half drive. At least one of them was very short. The SEC just needs to abolish it’s Ref pool and pay other conferences to send their refs.
    I mean it. They SUCK and I believe some of them are blatantly dishonest.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Ug, things are the way they are for a reason. Think about it. How long would bad calls like this be going on if Slive and the rest of the SEC brass were not allowing it? If you were in charge of a multi-million dollar business with national TV exposure and week after week one of the core elements of your business was being shown on national TV to make incredible mistakes with millions of people watching, how long would you allow that to continue? The bad calls happen, I would argue, BECAUSE of Slive, et al.

  31. Minnesota Dawg

    The non-PI penalty aside, I thought that Vandy kind of lost the game in the 3rd and then early 4th qtr. They had all the momentum after halftime, crowd was in the game, the defense was stonewalling the backup QB (and then tentative Shaw), they were playing on SCU’s side of the field, and all they could put up was a lousy field goal during this entire stretch. When there is blood in the water, you’ve got to attack; make hay while the sun is shining….you know what I mean.

    Seems like Vandy was content with keeping it a close game until late, and then taking their chances. This is a typical underdog mentality (that Georgia is frequently guilty of as well)–assuming that something good will happen at the end. As long as Lattimore is playing for the Cocks, I wouldn’t want to be in a one-possession game in the 4th quarter against SCU. He has frequently shown an ability to take over a game in these late stages–melting precious clock along the way,

    • Biggus Rickus

      I pretty much figured they’d lose when they attempted the 51-yard field on 4th and 3 from the South Carolina 34. If you’re Vandy, up by 3, I feel like you have to go for it there.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Or at least punt -that is a semi-aggressive move there, too. I told my wife at that moment that with depth on their side there was no way SC would not score another TD, that stupid FG reminded me of the kind of tepid 4Q response that CMR is sometimes guilty of.

  32. ugadawg9288

    In my mind, there were 3 bad non-calls that went USCe’s way and took points off the board for Vandy.

    1. The first quarter interception by Shaq Wilson on the (horrible) screen pass. Shaq literally pushed Stacy out of the way to get the interception.

    2. The false start that should have been an offside call on Clowney. He clearly jumped into the NZ causing a Vandy player to react.

    3. The non-call PI at the end of the game.

  33. Yes, USC was the better team, but sometimes the better team doesn’t win and I would like to see what would have happened with competent refs.
    But I think we probably did see SC at their worst, and Vandy at their best.
    SC is probably not as bad as they looked, but worse than their fans hoped for ….
    Vandy is probably not as good as they looked, but about what their fans hoped for. .ugadawg9288 is right, the turn around inside the SC 5 was a bush-league call. It was a typical Vandy implosion.
    First games can be wierd. But I do think SS should throw the refs a thank-you party.

  34. RocketDawg

    My thoughts:

    Vandy is pretty good on defense, not so much on offense although Zac Stacy is a legit SEC back. They aren’t going to be the doormat that we are all used to.

    Connor Shaw has a noodle arm. That out cut in the endzone which should have been a TD took FOREVER to get there. Reminded me of the out route that Joe TIII threw against Vandy that went back for a pick-6. Now that his throwing shoulder is all jacked up he is going to have even less velocity on his throws. The defensive plan for SC should be stack the box to stop the zone read and make him beat you throwing the ball.

    SEC officials are horrendous! How do you miss such a blatant PI that happens right in front of you?

    • You don’t. You just decide you can’t hurt the team you want to win and pretend you didn’t see it. If he says “I didn’t see it”, then it’s time for him to get the hell out of his striped uniform..If he says, “I saw it but I didn’t think it was bad enough to call”, he needs to get the hell out of his striped uniform. If he says, “I’ll be honest…I cheated”, then he needs to trade his striped uniform for another striped uniform. Why? Because peoples careers, players attitudes, season records, who goes to what bowl ($$$$$$), who becomes a champion, the perception of a program (Vandy always sucks), and the reputation and public perception of the SEC is at stake. Me thinks I do NOT protest too loudly. It’s gotten way too old.
      An official should never, never, never determine the winner of a game. The players and coaches should. Too often we’ve seen that taken away.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      They didn’t miss it… they just didn’t call it.

  35. What do you (anyone) think will be the reprocussions (if any) of that blown pi call last night? Has Franklin spoken out at all? Has he any recourse? Do you imagine the SEC is groaning over a problem that everyone knows about that rears it’s ugly head during crunch time in the very first game of the year? I can accept an occasional blown call, but in the SEC, it’s epidemic and has been for years…Franklin can be a fireplug…I wonder if he’ll take it sitting down or raise mortal hell. Remember…if they can screw Vandy, they can also screw Georgia (BIG scoop there, huh?).
    I guess I’m ranting because I really, really was optimistic it was fixed.

    • The Lone Stranger

      The SEC will suspend the guy for a game or two and move right ahead. One miss-call I can understand, but it appears often in SEC games that there is a snowball effect where the bulk of bad decisions doom a certain team. Of course, I may be overly sensitive to one side or the other. I don’t exactly know.

  36. fetch

    My thoughts on Vandy:
    Rodgers is an athletic QB, but under pressure makes major mistakes on a routine basis. If SC’s D had been anything other than pedistrian, they would have had half a dozen INTs.
    I thought their coaches did a decent job of hiding their teams flaws( for the most part).
    Thoughts on SC:
    Force Shaw to stay in the pocket and their is no way you can loose. One of the weakest looking arms I’ve seen in a while, no zip whatsoever.
    D line looks good, but get past that and the rest of the D appears below average at best.

  37. Spike

    Too bad both of those d-bags couldn’t lose by a blown call. Sigh.

    • stoopnagle

      This aligns with my thinking.

      Although, I found myself cheering against SC more than against Carlton.

  38. lrgk9

    The type of Conner shoulder contusion often leads to loss of strength.

    We should definitely see this for that ref:

    http://blog.al.com/solomon/2009/10/sec_referee_marc_curles_part_o.html

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Some refs got fired over the off-season. Anybody know who?

    • When you think about the first throw Connor made…how weak it was, you have to wonder if his shoulder wasn’t already injured and last night was just a re-injury. Could Spurrier have possibly kept a QB summer injury a secret? I’ll give Shaw this…he’s a tough cookie. But I just can’t imagine Spurrier recruiting a kid without a zippy arm. Wonder.

  39. Cojones

    I saw a knee get Shaw between the lower part of the shoulder blade and the spine, right into the muscle. Some tissue had to separate and will prolong his healing, but a shot before games will keep him in there until it heals completely.

    SC’s D secondary was unimpressive and it showed early in the 2nd qtr. Clowney is smooth and impressive. You have to treat him almost like Jarvis until halftime.

    William (8:43 post), agree about teams improving as the season progresses.

    Lost in our pool , but won in two others. I thought the point spread was dead on, so I hedged. Got 7 points for one, but only 1 for the other. That ought to tell you how torn I was while deciding.

  40. Cojones

    Wore the colors in my visit to the optometrist this morning (red and black shirt, white hat with University of Georgia written across the front). He remarked that his son had graduated from Tech and I said, “Oh, you mean ‘the North Avenue Trade School’, don’t you?”. He smiled and remarked he had seen that on one of his son’s shirts. The optometrist went to Purdue at the same time I was getting my Masters at UGA and we had a pleasant football conversation that mentioned another school, ND, quite a lot. You young punks wouldn’t understand.

  41. RSVP

    How much is UGA having to pay Buffalo to come to Georgia, I heard FSU is only paying Murry State $425 G’s.

  42. Will Trane

    Watched part of the game and the Outlaw Josey Wells. Maybe South Carolina is overrated and Vandy is underrated. Hard for peple to understand that the scholarship limits can impact teams.
    Thought both teams played poorly, bad game plans, and poor play calls. Not a good opening game for the SEC.

  43. TDawg

    The USC Dline looked gassed early…size and depth definitely SAVED them!

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