UMass amassed two 14-point quarters in their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Despite trimming the lead down to six, that wasn’t enough for the Minutemen to squeak out an upset victory, as the Gamecocks held on to defeat UMass on Saturday afternoon, 34-28.
South Carolina built up an early lead in the first half, scoring 27 points including a 14-point effort of their own in the first quarter. UMass manufactured a 15-play, 74-yard drive towards the end of the game to cut the lead to six points, but South Carolina pieced together an eight-play, 68-yard drive that bled enough clock till it hit quadruple zeros.
Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley was efficient enough, going 17-for-26 for 201 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. The big efforts came from the Gamecocks ground game as they amassed 194 yards and three scores, two coming from David Williams and the other from freshman Rico Dowdle.
3 things we learned:
1. South Carolina’s suspect run D came under fire again: Entering play, South Carolina’s run defense ranked 78th, 102nd and 83rd in Rushing S&P+, Rush Success Rate and Rushing IsoPPP. The Minutemen were able to allot 142 yards on the ground including 128 from sophomore tailback Marquis Young. The Gamecocks can take comfort in the fact that the longest run allowed was only 16 yards, but they will still certainly have to sharpen up.
2. On the flip side, South Carolina’s run game looked great: The Gamecocks have been poor on their side of the ball when it comes to running the football. They’re ranked 116th in Rushing S&P+, but that didn’t stop them from chewing up UMass for 194 yards on the ground on Saturday. Dowdle and Williams picked up 87 and 69 yards respectively, and their aforementioned combined three rushing touchdowns. Perhaps this is what the doctor ordered, and some confidence can be gained going forward.
3. We’re still likely to learn more about this Gamecocks team next week: So, South Carolina did what they were supposed to do and beat a UMass team that they were supposed to comfortably beat. That didn’t happen which may raise some concerns, though expectations weren’t all too high to begin with in Columbia this season. With that said, we’ll likely find out what they have to offer next week against Tennessee, a team that is banged up and then some going into this encounter.