Will Muschamp has his signature win at USC and all of the sudden the future looks pretty bright for the Gamecocks. A revamped defense, an offense chock-full of first and second year players and an upset over 18th ranked Tennessee has the sun shining again on the Garnet and Black.
This is Jake Bentley’s offense now. The freshman quarterback, making his second career start, wasn’t phased by Tennessee’s attempts to confuse him with with varied fronts, pressure and blitzes. He calmly floated around the pocket and picked his places, careful not to make a mistake. He completed 15-of 20 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns and two touchdowns. He made plays when he had two and most importantly didn’t turn the ball over. His favorite target was sophomore Deebo Samuel, who caught eight passes for 83 yards. Freshman Bryan Edwards caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Rico Dowdle ran the ball 27 times for 128 yards and a touchdown. That’s USC’s offensive core. That’s USC’s future.
The offense made strides and was serviceable, but it was the defense that carried the day for the Gamecocks. They never let Vols All-SEC quarterback Josh Dobbs get comfortable, forcing him into three costly turnovers. Jarmacus King picked him off twice and he also lost a fourth quarter fumble that set up a Gamecock touchdown. Tennessee didn’t convert a 3rd down in the second half. The past two years Tennessee’s offense has averaged 526 yards per game against USC. Saturday night it finished with 297.
Now USC is 4-4, 2-4 in the SEC. They’ve already surprised their win total from a year ago and now a bowl game is back in the picture. After two plus years of frustration, hope and optimism have returned to Gamecock Nation.
Take a listen to what Will Muschamp had to say about the win below:
WILL MUSCHAMP OPENING STATEMENT:
MUSCHAMP ON OVERCOMING ADVERSITY:
MUSCHAMP ON BREAKING THROUGH WITH TOP 25 WIN: