Last night’s game was of interest to me if for no other reason than to calibrate the gauge by which we’ve been measuring Georgia so far. And we got treated to the stereotypical SEC game – two great defenses, if you’re a proponent of the conference, or two pathetic offenses, if you’re a kindred spirit to someone like HeismanPundit.
The truth is somewhat more complicated than that. Ellis Johnson did a marvelous job mixing and matching and giving Norwood plenty of opportunities to have an impact on play. And the Ole Miss front four is every bit as dominant as advertised. On the other hand, I was struck by how sluggish the Rebels offense looked all night, with the glaring exception of Dexter McCluster. And it’s clear that Garcia struggles with man to man coverage far more than zone.
The quarterbacks’ mediocre play was probably the big story of the game. Here’s how it broke down, courtesy of Team Speed Kills:
NAME COMP ATT PCT YDS TD INT
Garcia 16 34 47.1 220 1 0 111.12 Snead 7 21 33.3 107 1 0 91.85
That is not the stuff from which legends are born. Garcia was marginally better, and that was the difference. But he sure disappeared in the fourth quarter when the game was in the balance.
So, what to take from this? I think it’s more of an indication of Ole Miss being overrated than where South Carolina is going. Thus, I lean less towards cocknfire’s take – “It’s not time to put South Carolina in the Top 15 just yet. But for the first time in a couple of years, the idea didn’t seem completely laughable” – and more towards Doc Saturday’s – “If Garcia and South Carolina are still basically mediocre, what does that make Snead and Ole Miss?”.
A few more random observations from a Dawg fan’s point of view:
- I switched on a replay of the Georgia-South Carolina first half during halftime last night (damn, I’m sorry I missed this) just for a little comparison. The good news? That Georgia offense looked fast and – dare I say it? – purposeful once it got going. The bad news? The realization that Garcia’s high water mark for the season may very well be against Georgia’s defense. An ineffective pass rush and soft zone coverage will do that.
- Empty seats in Columbia? What’s the world coming to?
- All those SEC quarterback rankings we read in the preseason weren’t worth the bandwidth they consumed.
- The over/under in the Tennessee-South Carolina game may be in the single digits.
- Craig James sure talks a lot.
- I do wonder how much of Ole Miss’ offensive performance was affected by the flu that swept through the team. The on-field performance, that is. You can’t blame the playcalling on illness, it was sickly on its own. You think the Nuttster would like a mulligan on that fake field goal call?
- After last night, Gamecock fans have no reason to complain about SEC officiating. Aside from the two blatant missed calls in the fourth quarter, it’s clear that the official method that South Carolina receivers have for creating separation is the push off. There could have been flags thrown for offensive pass interference on almost every SC possession.