South Carolina Gamecocks: 3 Takeaways from the Belk Bowl Loss to Virginia
The South Carolina Gamecocks concluded the 2018 season with a 28-0 loss to Virginia in the Belk Bowl. The Gamecocks finished the year 7-6. It marked the first time they were shutout since 2008.
Quarterback Jake Bentley concluded his roller-coaster season with 218 yards and two interceptions.
THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE BELK BOWL
INJURIES AND DEPTH CAUGHT UP TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
The South Carolina Gamecocks could have almost fielded an entire starting lineup with just their injured players. This was especially true on defense. Javon Kinlaw, Aaron Sterling, Keir Thomas, and several others sapped the depth from Carolina. Running back A.J. Turner played some snaps in the secondary. Multiple walk-ons played. Not an ideal situation.
Offensively, no injury was bigger than that of guard Zach Bailey. With Bailey out, Donnell Stanley was forced to move from center to guard. In his stead was true freshman Hank Manos. The timing and velocity of Manos’ snaps affected the flow of the offense.
NO DEEBO = PUNCHLESS OFFENSE
When Deebo Samuel decided to sit out the Belk Bowl to focus on draft prep, I applauded his decision. I still do. However, without the services of their top playmaker, the Gamecocks offense was quite offensive. True freshman Josh Vann and Chavis Dawkins failed miserably at replicating Samuel’s production.
Jake Bentley was nothing short of abysmal. Bentley only completed 44% of his throws. His footwork, a problem for the last three seasons, continues to be embarrassing. Bentley stared down his receivers on multiple occasions. If this was his last game (see below), it was flat out pathetic.
BIG DECISIONS UPCOMING
The problem with accumulating more talent is that you acquire players that are NFL ready after only three years. The Gamecocks have several players who have decisions to make. Most notably is WR Bryan Edwards. Edwards has an NFL skillset that would likely see him picked on day two.
Interior offensive lineman Donnell Stanley has also said he is weighing his options. Stanley is probably a day three pick. QB Jake Bentley is pondering a decision as well. In my opinion, Bentley would be making a mistake. His fundamentals are not NFL ready.
Javon Kinlaw and D.J. Wonnum have both stated that they will return next season.
What did you think of the South Carolina Gamecocks performance in the Belk Bowl?
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