South Carolina football: How well did Jake Bentley play vs. N.C. State?

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jake Bentley was productive in the South Carolina football team’s season-opening win against North Carolina State in Charlotte, N.C.

The sophomore completed 17 of 29 passes for 215 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception in the Gamecocks’ 35-28 win Saturday at Bank of America Stadium. Bentley ranks 48th in the country with a quarterback rating of 148.14.

Beyond those numbers, how good was Bentley in his eighth start as South Carolina’s quarterback?

Check out the chart below. Completions are designated with a ‘C’ and incompletions are marked with an ‘X’.

Completions are charted where the ball was caught, not the length of the play. For example: Rico Dowdle’s touchdown catch went for 34 yards, but the ball traveled 10 yards from the line of scrimmage before he caught it, so the play fell into the 0-10 range.

On throws that went 20 or more yards down the field, Bentley completed 2 of 4 for 65 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The scoring strike, of course, was a 39-yard hookup with Deebo Samuel.

From where the pass was released by Bentley and where it was caught by Samuel’s left hand, the ball traveled about 50 yards through the air. Truly a thing of beauty.

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Most of Bentley’s work came on short throws (0-10). Given the N.C. State’s defensive front, it was clear that South Carolina offensive coordinator Kurt Roper wanted to limit opportunities for pressure on his sophomore quarterback. In that range, Bentley completed 10 of 18 throws for 110 yards with 2 touchdowns.

Bentley played well. He did enough to help his team win, and didn’t do anything to lose the game. Kudos to him for sticking with the game plan and coming away with his first neutral-site win. It will be interesting to see if he can get the monkey off his back on the road this week against Missouri.

South Carolina-Deebo Samuel
Deebo Samuel was Jake Bentley’s favorite wide receiver against North Carolina State. (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)

Receivers targeted

Samuel, who caught 5 passes for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns, was the most heavily targeted wide receiver by Bentley (12). Samuel dropped one pass. Most of the rest were throwaways.

Wide receiver Bryan Edwards also caught 5 passes, finishing with 55 yards. Of the seven times he was targeted, there was an overthrow by Bentley and another that was off the mark, though Edwards got his hands on the errant pass.

Wide receiver Shi Smith caught 3 passes for 23 yards and was targeted on four throws.

Tight end Hayden Hurst caught 1 pass that went for a 2-yard loss. He was targeted four times, but half of Bentley’s passes to him were thrown away because of tight coverage.

Dowdle caught both of his targets for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Fellow running back Ty’Son Williams caught his only target for 5 yards.

The post South Carolina football: How well did Jake Bentley play vs. N.C. State? appeared first on SEC Country.

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