Gamecocks crush Coastal in opener in impressive fashion 49-15 with videos, gallery & more
GCF Staff Report
POSTGAME: Will Muschamp on Coastal Carolina — 9/1/2018
POSTGAME: Shi Smith, Rico Dowdle on Coastal Carolina — 9/1/2018
POSTGAME: Kiel Pollard, Jake Bentley on Coastal Carolina — 9/1/2018
POSTGAME: Javon Kinlaw, Bryson Allen-Williams on Coastal Carolina — 9/1/2018
POSTGAME: Deebo Samuel on Coastal Carolina — 9/1/2018
Will Muschamp post-game quotes
The South Carolina Gamecocks unveiled their new-look up-tempo offense Saturday against Coastal Carolina, and in his first game as the new OC Bryan McClendon nearly hung a 50-spot.
The Gamecocks won 49-15, and it was important with Georgia looming on the schedule next Saturday that the Gamecocks got off to a hot start offensively. Jake Bentley threw for four TDs, and playmaker Deebo Samuel returned 100 percent healthy.
The offensive pace was perfect, too. It wasn’t too fast, and it wasn’t too slow.
So, there wasn’t much for Will Muschamp to be critical about when he spoke to the media following the game:
Will Muschamp: D.J. Wonnum, he thinks, just sprained his ankle. Should be fine. (collective 'Whew!' from the USC fans)
Muschamp on Wonnum, again: "Based on the information I have, he’s going to be fine."
Muschamp: Harvey will definitely be out for the first half next week. He's not pleased with that or the other penalties. "It won't be tolerated."
Muschamp: To see how Deebo's frustration was last year ... and go through all that ... for him to get that today, was just so terrific.
Muschamp noticed like we all did today. Stanley's snaps were floating a little. "That will be a topic of discussion."
Muschamp said he didn't get the heat he needed during camp. Today, it was nasty. But, "We didn't have one IV." Credits Jeff Dillman and the players.
Muschamp: Horn handled his first start really well. Very mature young man. He understands when to focus. Always dialed in when he's in the building.
Muschamp on Javon Charleston: Hasn't had a chance to sit down and talk with him, or Ray Tanner. Don't know if he'll be allowed to come back while completing PTI.
Youth movement: Eleven true freshmen played in the game with cornerback Jaycee Horn becoming the seventh true freshman to start a season-opener for South Carolina since 2009. Defensive linemen Kingsley (J.J.) Enagbare, Rick Sandidge and Josh Belk, offensive linemen Dylan Wonnum and Jovaughn Gwynn, defensive backs Israel Mukuamu and R.J. Roderick, linebackers Rosendo Louis and Ernest Jones and wide receiver Josh Vann also played.
Running back rotation: Dowdle got the start at running back and showed how he earned it in the preseason. He finished with 15 carries for 105 yards and had a 22-yard touchdown catch that put South Carolina ahead 28-3 late in the second quarter. It was the fourth 100-yard game of his career. Junior Ty’Son Williams was the second back in the game and finished with 82 yards on 11 carries. Junior A.J. Turner also played in the first half but only had two carries in the game. Mon Denson did not play due to a hamstring injury.
Cause for concern: Junior defensive end D.J. Wonnum left the game early in the third quarter with an ankle injury, but Muschamp is hopeful he will be able to play against the Bulldogs. “I think he’ll be fine,” the coach said. Wonnum was helped off the field by trainers and went straight to the locker room. Wonnum led South Carolina in sacks last year with six sacks last year and had his career-high in tackles against Georgia with nine. If Wonnum can’t play next week, it will be the first time he’s missed a game in his 27-game career.
USC fans were promised new. The Gamecocks were certainly productive. The 49 points in a win against Coastal were the most since scoring 70 against Coastal in 2013. The 511 yards weren’t bad either, and the backups played most of the fourth quarter.
The back Will Muschamp challenged certainly delivered. Rico Dowdle, who missed the majority of the 2017 season, broke off 105 yards on 15 carries and added a 22-yard touchdown catch on a screen for good measure.
Bryson Allen-Williams in his return
A versatile cog in USC’s defense, Allen-Williams didn’t get quite the fanfare of the likes of Deebo Samuel and Rico Dowdle when he missed most of last season. In his first action since last September, he made four tackles, three for loss, with a sack and a hurry.
In his first day at the helm of the new offense, he went 22-for-29 for 250 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. That included a one-minute drive at the end of the first half where he led his team 76 yards in five plays.
Some tackling issues
Option teams are always going to be an issue. They make things difficult, deciding to pass when the defense commits to the run. Still, there were some players in position to make plays who couldn’t make them. It’s something to clean up.
There was a scary moment when Gamecocks defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum suffered an apparent ankle injury and exited the game. Afterward, Muschamp said it was just a sprain and he should be fine.
It was supremely hot, and a noon opener against a Sun Belt team barely out of FCS. That was going to hurt attendance. The official number of 75,126 was USC’s lowest for a home opener since 2010, and it looked to be generous given the number of fans in the stands.
Few really big plays
The Gamecocks had perhaps their most efficient offensive day in a long time. They also didn’t break a play longer than 29 yards. It’s not a deal breaker, but worth making note of against a Sun Belt team.
THE OTHER SIDE
How did USC’s new offense look to an opponent? Impressive, Coastal says
After Deebo Samuel added to his career highlight reel at Coastal Carolina’s expense, Chanticleers coach Joe Moglia didn’t explode on the sideline. He didn’t chew out Mallory Claybourne, the Coastal defensive back who got beat in the corner of the end zone. He didn’t do much of anything.
South Carolina was up 42-6 at that point, confirming what Moglia had been saying all week about the Gamecocks.
They’re pretty good.
“We played as hard as we could against what I think is one of the better teams in the country,” Moglia said Saturday after USC’s 49-15 rout of the Chants before 75,126 spectators at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Samuel’s one-handed scoring catch late in the third quarter was only part of a noteworthy debut for USC offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon. The interim tag off, South Carolina’s full-time OC led the Gamecocks (1-0) to their most points in the Will Muschamp era and totaled their most yards (557) since November 2016.
Film of McClendon in such a role entering the game only came from last year’s Outback Bowl.
“A lot of the things that they ran were things that we saw them running a year ago,” Moglia said. “Now what he was supposed to bring to the table was be a little bit more up-tempo and hurry-up. They certainly showed that a little bit, but this is not his first rodeo as offensive coordinator.”
South Carolina, with an SEC East Division showdown against No. 3 Georgia looming, didn’t reveal all of its new tricks. A complete hurry-up attack was really only on display during a five-play, 76-yard scoring drive that took 45 seconds before the end of the first half.
“I’m sure (McClendon) may have another wrinkle or two,” Moglia said, “but he didn’t need his other wrinkle or two today.”
Samuel, appearing for the first time since breaking his leg last September, had seven catches for 56 yards and that TD. He had 112 total yards on 10 touches.
“The kid’s an All-American and a first-round draft choice,” Moglia said. “I think he’s pretty good.”
The touchdown, No. 17 in his career, was a reminder why Samuel was generating Heisman buzz last fall.
“I mean we had the guy well-covered and the guy came down with the ball,” Moglia said. “They made great plays and we didn’t make great plays. And part of that is their athleticism.”
Coastal, which went 3-9 last season and was picked to finish last in the Sun Belt East, dropped to 0-3 all-time against SEC opponents. The 2013 Gamecocks beat the Chants, 70-10.
“They got fast guys,” said CCU linebacker Silas Kelly. “They’re a Division I team. We know they’re very good and they have athletes. We have athletes, too. It just happened that they got out in space sometimes. They got fast guys and we just gotta tighten up the screws and get on them more.”
The Gamecocks didn't show any sign of their historical pattern of letting smaller opponents hang around. South Carolina scored in the first three minutes, twice in the first 10 and put the game away on its third touchdown with 6:03 to go before halftime.
''I think we were very efficient offensively, obviously, when you're able to stay balanced like that,'' South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said. ''Defensively, we didn't give up anything big, except for some silly penalties we need to get cleaned up.''
South Carolina rolled up 557 yards of offense and six different players scored. Receiver Deebo Samuel, recovered from a broken leg that ended his season after just three games last year, made a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone.
Coastal Carolina was held to 238 yards.
''I think we played hard against what I think is one of the better teams in the country. I think it took us a while to get used to their speed on both sides of the ball,'' Coastal coach Joe Moglia said. ''They were able to control the line of scrimmage, especially when their offense was on the field.''
Top South Carolina defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum injured his left ankle in the third quarter and was taken to the locker room. Muschamp said that it was a sprained ankle and from what he knew Saturday, Wonnum will be fine for the next game.
South Carolina defensive back Nick Harvey was ejected for targeting and will miss the first half of the next game.
South Carolina scored on each of its first three possessions and six of its first seven drives, taking a 42-6 lead after three quarters of play. Rico Dowdle had a pair of touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air. The Gamecocks had 32 first downs on the day and had 557 yards overall.
557 — South Carolina had 263 yards on the ground and 294 in the air in the victory over Coastal Carolina. Rico Dowdle had 105 rushing yards while quarterback Jake Bentley was 22-for-29 for 250 yards and four touchdowns in the air. The 557 yards were the most by the Gamecocks since Carolina amassed 588 yards on Nov. 19, 2016 in a win against Western Carolina.
South Carolina opens play in the Southeastern Conference next Saturday (Sept. 8) as the Gamecocks host Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on CBS.