The game was a back-and-forth affair all the way to the end. The two teams were tied at 14 the end of the first quarter and then 21 at the end of the 2nd. A burst in the 3rd allowed for the Gamecocks to hold a two-score edge. NC State was in it until their final possession. The Wolfpack, however, couldn’t find the end zone for a game-tying touchdown.
Deebo Samuel and Jake Bentley starred on offense, like many expected them to. For the Wolfpack, quarterback Ryan Finley manned the offense. Finley racked up 64 pass attempts on the day, accounting for well over 50 percent of the plays. That passing attack, which found nine different receivers, was still not enough to take down the Gamecocks.
WHAT WE LEARNED
DEEBO SAMUEL IS STILL LEGIT
We probably didn’t need to be reeducated on this point. Samuel, however, was more than willing to provide a lesson plan on his own. Samuel grabbed two receiving touchdowns and scored the game’s first touchdown on the opening kickoff. This type of versatility is exactly why many are expecting him to have a huge year in 2017. That he averaged 16.6 yards per catch (five receptions on the day) showed that the concerns about the Wolfpack’s secondary were viable. NC State of course has to replace a glut of their secondary from last year. And no matter who was covering Samuel, they simply couldn’t contain him.
It’s probably worth noting that Samuel will now get a crack against Mizzou next week. The same Mizzou who let FCS rep Missouri State score 43 on them on Saturday... and not even really in garbage time. Deebo is probably salivating just thinking about it.
JAKE BENTLEY LOOKED SOLID DESPITE FACING ONE OF THE NATION’S BEST FRONTS
NC State’s front seven is no joke. They’re fixing to be one of the most fearsome in the ACC and the country as well. Sophomore Jake Bentley played rather composedly despite that knowledge, however. Bentley went 17-29 against the Wolfpack, racking up 215 yards through the air with an interception and three TDs. Two of course went to Deebo, with the other going to running back Rico Dowdle.
Bentley made the most of his weapons, throwing to six different Gamecocks.
NC State will be one of the best defenses that South Carolina faces all year. With that out of the way, you have to figure to be optimistic about how the Gamecocks signal caller fared Saturday in Charlotte.
A GOOD START FOR THE GAMECOCK RUN DEFENSE
South Carolina’s run defense was simply dreadful as the season wore itself on last year. Saturday’s performance against NC State was a step in the right direction. They allowed only 89 yards on the day, but to be fair, -22 of them were accounted by Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley. Between Nyheim Hines and Reggie Gallaspy II, they accounted for 108 yards and a score.
Digging further into the data, on 28 carries, that only amounts to 3.85 yards per carry. There’s probably a reason that Finley wound up throwing over 60 pass attempts in the game. Whatever formula that the SC defense used, they will have to try and perfect it going forward. Especially so next week against Mizzou, where Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter will be there to try and run amok.