After weeks of thinking statistically porous defenses could be the answer to curing the Gamecocks’ offensive woes, South Carolina finally faced a Vanderbilt group they succeeded against.
The running game, which ranked 12th from the bottom in the NCAA among FBS teams rushed its away to a landmark day with a season high 212 yards on the ground. The mark still fell short of the 242 yards Vanderbilt gives up on average, but an average of 5.7 yards per rush allowed the Gamecocks to sustain drives, an area that had been a trouble spot for them.
AJ Turner served as the feature back for USC, carrying the ball 15 times for a career-high 121 yards and a touchdown.
While many believed Ty’Son Williams would be the player to step up in Rico Dowdle’s absence, Turner has carried the mail for the Gamecocks, rushing for 6.1 yards per carry against Tennessee and 8.1 yards per carry against the Vanderbilt.
Turner expounded on his success in advance of a big test against Georgia this week.
Georgia is a team that allows no quarter on defense, ranking sixth in the country at rush defense allowing just 95 yards per game on average. They’ve also allowed 157 yards per game on average through the air, third best in the country.
While Jake Bentley has had games with better quarterback ratings using the old metrics, his best QBR (ESPN statistic) game came against Vanderbilt. Bentley’s QBR was an 87.8, which on a scale of 100, would rank him as the fifth best quarterback this season if matched up with other season-long marks.
Bentley had the 10th best weekly QBR in the country among players in FBS during Week 9, with Ole Miss’ Jordan Ta’amu (88.9) and Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson (88.1) ranking higher in their performances.
The big change in Bentley’s game has been his willingness to run, either on run-pass options or scrambling out of the pocket, as he rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns against the Commodores.
Bentley outlined what worked against Vanderbilt, and how they’ll have to enhance that against Georgia.
South Carolina meets Georgia at Sanford Stadium at 3:30 PM Saturday on CBS.