It wasn’t pretty on Saturday night in Starkville…not pretty at all.
The Gamecocks came out flat again and unlike in week one, Mississippi State made them pay. Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald set a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback and the Gamecocks fell 27-14.
Carolina now comes home to host ECU next Saturday in what is really a must-win game if we want my prediction of 6-6 to come true.
So far, I’m right on. I may have gotten the scores wrong, but I knew that the Gamecocks would come home 1-1. Mississippi State might have lost to South Alabama in Week 1, but as I said on the Inside the Mind of Ditti podcast on ESPNUpstate.com, snapshot reactions are usually wrong.
In all honesty, I kind of thought South Carolina’s chances of upsetting Mississippi State lessened after their embarrassing opening week loss. The Bulldogs aren’t a bad football team, they just fell asleep against a team that they should have pummeled. That in turn can inspire a good (not great) team to turn around a take care of business in front of their home fans the following week.
That is what we saw on Saturday night. When you combine the extra motivation for Mississippi State with the abysmal start to the game for Carolina, you get a 24-0 halftime score.
Then a bit of a change came. Mississippi State may very well have put it in cruise control in the second half, but how often have we seen a 24-0 halftime lead end up a 30 or 40-point blowout in college football?
That didn’t happen.
After gaining 324 total yards in the first half, the Bulldogs only added 163 in the second, and only managed a field goal. I guess you can say that Dan Mullen took pity on the lowly Gamecocks…but when has that ever been the case in the SEC?
Especially for a team that had just lost at home to a Sun Belt Conference team. That’s the kind of team that wants to bounce back and make a statement with a blowout win in conference.
Yes, I’m looking for silver linings, I’m captaining the good ship lollipop as my former radio co-host used to say…but why not?
In the second half we saw Brandon McIlwain play much better than he did against Vanderbilt, the offense moved the ball and scored two touchdowns and the defense started tackling a little bit more. In the end, the Gamecocks lost a game they were expected to lose. I predicted a 35-24 Mississippi State win, I had too much confidence in both offenses apparently.
Now it’s on to ECU and it’s time for some home cookin’ and hopefully a team ready for the first quarter instead of waiting on halftime adjustments.
A win this week and the Gamecocks are still on track for my 6-6 prediction and a bowl game. That’s literally the best we can hope for. If you had delusions of grandeur and expected anything more, then I’m sorry to burst your bubble.
The future is bright, but we don’t live in the future…we live in the now. Now, this team needs a lot of work, a lot of support and some positive thinking. So show our boys your love and support like you always do next Saturday. 2-1 is on the horizon.
Forever to thee.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).