The South Carolina Gamecocks are more than just Jadeveon Clowney. The preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy didn’t do too much in the Gamecocks’ opening 27-10 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. Perhaps the criticism of Clowney is a little overblown, but there is no question this South Carolina team brings a lot more to the table for opponents to worry about.
The Gamecocks defense was solid even without a great performance from its star, only letting North Carolina inside the 40-yard-line three times all night.
On the other hand, South Carolina’s offense displayed big-play, quick-strike capabilities. Connor Shaw found Shaq Roland for a 65-yard touchdown on the game’s third play. Then Dylan Thompson threw a 29-yard TD to Kane Whitehurst later in the quarter. In the third quarter, running back Mike Davis put the game out of reach with a 75-yard touchdown run.
This Carolina team looks like a legitimate SEC and national title contender, but it will need its best player to start making good on that potential. Big performances by Clowney are what will put the Gamecocks over the top against the best teams in the league.
What to look for in Week 2: How will Clowney do? He has endured much criticism after a lackluster performance against North Carolina. His three-tackle, no-sack performance caused some to question his motivation and conditioning. This week, the No. 6 Gamecocks meet No. 11 Georgia, and you can bet people will watch Clowney even more closely as the stakes are raised with each team opening SEC play.