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Recap: South Carolina 35, N.C. State 28
South Carolina won its third-straight season opener on Saturday afternoon, beating N.C. State 35-28 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Thanks to wide receiver Deebo Samuel, quarterback Jake Bentley and a surprisingly-stout defensive line, the Gamecocks never trailed.
With the victory, South Carolina has won 17 of its past 18 season openers. The only loss was a 52-28 defeat to Texas A&M in 2014.
Hale McGranahan of SEC Country has a full breakdown of the Gamecocks win.
Will Muschamp on his team’s victory
South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp met with reporters following the Gamecocks’ season-opening victory on Saturday.
“Offensively, very efficient. Threw the ball extremely well throughout the game,” Muschamp said in his opening remarks. “… Extremely proud of how our guys fought. N.C. State is a really good football team. Their front seven is as good as we’ll see this season.”
The South Carolina coach continued on to praise Bentley and the defense’s “fantastic job” in forcing 2 turnovers.
Deebo Samuel’s big day
Samuel was absolutely electric on Saturday.
First, the redshirt junior receiver returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
DEEBO SAMUEL TO THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ynw5LSQGVG
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 2, 2017
Samuel followed that up with 5 catches for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns, including an incredible one-handed 39-yard touchdown catch.
Deebo Samuel wants to let you know he's here pic.twitter.com/ksA5rvSj2q
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) September 2, 2017
Grading the Gamecocks
SEC Country graded all of the Gamecocks position groups in the season-opening victory.
The wide receivers/tight ends group earned the highest mark with an A-minus.
Samuel led the team in receiving yards, but sophomore WR Bryan Edwards chipped in with 5 catches for 55 yards, while freshman WR Shi Smith caught 3 passes for 23 yards.
South Carolina defensive line steps up
The South Carolina defensive line showed vast improvement from 2016 in the 35-28 win.
After giving up 21 points and 296 passing yards in the first two quarters, the Gamecocks defense surrendered just 7 points and 119 passing yards in the second half.
“I think everyone just calmed down,” senior linebacker Skai Moore said. “I mean, the first-game jitters and everyone’s a little anxious. After that, we calmed down and saw what they were really doing. We played our ball. We played our football.”
South Carolina finished the game with 11 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. To put those stats in perspective, the Gamecocks had 21 sacks total in 2016.
Don’t sleep on the Gamecocks
On Sunday, Sports Illustrated named South Carolina one of its five Week 1 surprise teams that deserve more respect.
“Will Muschamp didn’t inherit a roster that was ready to aim for anything more than lower-level bowl games last season, even in the SEC’s weaker division, but with Florida still looking for answers on offense, perhaps South Carolina could push Georgia or whoever else emerges for the right to get pummeled by Alabama in the conference championship game,” Chris Johnson writes.
Sports Illustrated previously tabbed N.C. State as one of its five sleeper teams that could emerge as legit contenders.
Media still loves Jake Bentley
Completing 17 of 29 passes for 215 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, Bentley justified the hype he received this offseason.
Brad Crawford of 247Sports has a closer look at the love national analysts gave the Gamecocks sophomore quarterback.
— Daren Stoltzfus (@DarenStoltzfus) September 3, 2017
South Carolina commit sets rushing record
Three-star safety and South Carolina commit R.J. Roderick is now the all-time leading rusher in Cane Bay High School (Summerville, S.C.) history.
Roderick, who plays quarterback for the Cobras, rushed for 106 yards and 4 touchdowns in Cane Bay’s 42-13 win over cross-county rival Stratford on Friday night.
With his performance on Friday, the No. 88 overall safety in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite, is now up to 3,186 career rushing yards.
Roderick was one of many South Carolina commits to have standout performances over the weekend.
‘I told you you were the best team’
The Gamecocks are 1-0, but if you need more Monday motivation, check out Muschamp’s speech to the team after the win on Saturday.
Proud 🤙 pic.twitter.com/srBJYcfNSV
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) September 3, 2017
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The post Recapping South Carolina’s win over N.C. State, and praise for WR Deebo Samuel, QB Jake Bentley appeared first on SEC Country.