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Final Grade vs. App State

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Final Grade vs. App State

Nov. 10, 2019 | GCF Staff Report

Offense

Carolina football dropped a 20-15 game to Appalachian State it desperately needed Saturday night. Now with the Gamecocks moving to 4-6 on the season and there are many questions centered on Coach Will Muschamp and his staff’s future, it’s time to make the final grade here for the Gamecocks performance Saturday night.

Quarterbacks: It's really hard to know how much to blame on a freshman QB. Ryan Hilinski’s shoulders here. To begin with most top receivers were gone. Catch-able passes were dropped all over the field. The pass protection was bad here again. He had to throw 58 times. He didn’t win the game, but he stuck in a lot longer than many would. Grade: C+

Running backs: Hard to find the words here to describe a horrible performance from this group Saturday. But anyhow Rico Dowdle got far and away the most work, and he averaged a mere 0.6 yards per carry. Deshaun Fenwick was up and down and Kevin Harris’ lone carry was a fullback dive. The only bright point was Dowdle showing all sorts of fight on some late catches to at least put the Gamecocks in position to win. Grade: D-

Wide receiver: Injuries and just more injuries to this group. So this lead to availability issue, the Gamecocks only had two of their top six receivers for much of the game. The top option, Bryan Edwards, missed most of the first half. Walk-on Trey Adkins played a lot and caught three balls. Edwards fought through a sprained knee for 90 yards. Xavier Legette made a few plays, but the drops overall were egregious. Grade: F

Tight end: Another area filled with injuries. Kyle Markway was the primary tight end with Nick Muse hurt. Chandler Farrell played some. Markway had one catch and no one blocked well on any front. Grade: F

Offensive line: Carolina finally had back the full offensive line it wanted, and the result was uninspiring, just plain lousy performance. After factoring out sacks, Gamecocks were under two yards per carry, and that included several scrambles. The pass protection allowed three sacks and three hurries. Grade: F

Defense

Defensive line: Tasked with corralling a mobile quarterback, the Gamecocks front held up well the most part. They mostly prevented Zac Thomas from shaking loose and App State didn’t get past 2.5 yards a carry. Grade: B+

Linebackers: Ernest Jones and Sherrod Greene combined for five tackles for loss, 1 1/2 sacks and an interception. Overall, App State was held to a miserable offensive day on the running and passing front. Grade: A

Secondary: The Gamecocks held Thomas to his worst day of the season in terms of yards and rating. Three chunk plays on 15 attempts isn’t ideal, but it’s only three. Grade: A

Special teams: A big Mountaineers kickoff return set up the only offensive touchdown for the visitors. The Gamecocks return game didn’t do much of consequence, had a muffed punt and at least one punt that wasn’t caught and rolled. Parker White did hit crucial 41- and 50-yard field goals, the latter a career high. Grade: D

Coaching: The Gamecock couldn’t figure out any magic on the offensive side. Question here is how much  is that’s on the coaches vs. the lack of bodies is up for debate as of now, but the Gamecocks desperately needed this one and posted their worst yards-per-play average of the season against a non-SEC team. The defense was very good, the special teams were not. Well this tells it all here. Grade: F

Overall: Carolina really needed this one and needed it badly. Just fell flat on there faces here. The Gamecocks spent 19 of the final 22 minutes down double digits at home to a good mid-major not much love to show here over all. Grade: F

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