Yup, you read the title correctly…this is my official mea culpa.
I was wrong and boy am I glad that I was.
The Jake Bentley era of Gamecocks football had begun with a silver lining filled close call against UMass last week, but kicked into high gear on Saturday with a stunning win over 18th ranked Tennessee.
I had told Greg McKinney on The Huddle that I still wasn’t on board with playing Bentley after seeing the UMass debacle up close and that I had little to no confidence in the Gamecocks going into this stretch of games including Tennessee, Florida and Clemson. I didn’t even feel too confident about the Missouri game to be honest.
Now, that’s all changed.
To quote Adam Sandler from Happy Gilmore, Greg, “I’m stupid, you’re smart. I was wrong, you were right. You’re the best, I’m the worst.”
But again, boy am I happy to be wrong.
I didn’t think this offensive line would be able to step it up and not only protect the young quarterback against much better defensive fronts than what the Minutemen brought to Columbia last week, but also create running lanes for the young Gamecocks running backs.
They did both.
Rico Dowdle continued to impress and show that he is the future of the South Carolina rushing attack with 127 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee. Overall the Gamecocks rushed for 158 yards. They were even able to out gain the Vols 325-297 in the game.
None of these things seemed possible just one week ago, but thank God they were.
The Gamecocks dominated this game on the stat sheet. Controlling time of possession, winning the turnover battle, earning more first downs and of course the most important part…scoring more points.
Obviously with such a young team there are still issues that need to be addressed even after such a big win.
Chris Lammons’ loss of control early in the game that resulted in his ejection is something that cannot happen, even if Muschamp is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Also an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on K.C. Crosby for his touchdown dance in such a close game gave Tennessee better field position on the kickoff that followed and also earned Crosby an earful from Coach Boom on the sideline.
Overall though the Gamecocks played a very clean and very impressive game on Saturday night. Yes, Tennessee may be in disarray, but that does not take anything away from what Carolina was able to accomplish with this win.
Now if they are able to beat Missouri at home and take care of Western Carolina then my 6-6 prediction is a reality. Plus Muschamp has a chance at redemption with a trip to the Swamp in a couple of weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t foresee a win in Gainesville against a very good Gator defense…but I didn’t foresee this win over the Vols either. So who knows.
For now, I’m just going to ride this wonderful feeling of being wrong in the best way possible and hope that the joy continues with a win over that Big 12 team from the other Columbia this weekend.
The best news…no unnecessary hot takes about Muschamp already being a failure. Well at least for the next 5 days or so.
The future is bright Gamecock Nation. Keep supporting our boys, they deserve it!
Forever to thee.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).