Can you believe we are 5-0? And I don’t think it is unfair to say that the defense has been driving this team all season. But, despite the shutout in the 2nd half against South Carolina, I think the 1st half performance was the best we have seen from the Cats offense all season. It was just play after play that worked. It was a mix of runs and passes, highlights from multiple players and scoring drives that didn’t even require a 3rd down conversion. If the Cats are to do special things moving forward they will need to put 2 halves together, but it was more than enough against the Gamecocks, especially considering the defensive performance. A breakdown:
Run: 22 rushes, 131 yards, 3 TD
Pass: 6-8, 49 yards
Run: 104 rushes, 678 yards, 11 TD
Pass: 33-48, 369 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT (1 fumble lost)
Recap: As has been the case all season, the Cats have been fantastic on 1st down. Over 6 yards per carry, three touchdowns, and an effective passing game consistently put the Cats in great situations. Dominance on this down opens the entire offense up and has kept the pressure off Terry Wilson.
Run: 17 rushes, 71 yards
Pass: 4-5, 55 yards
Run: 71 rushes, 430 yards, 4 TD (2 fumbles lost)
Pass: 22-31, 216 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT (2 sacks allowed)
Recap: Nearly six yards per play on 2nd down not only kept the Cats out of 3rd and long, but in the 1st half it got them 1st downs most of the time. Terry Wilson hit a couple nice passes plays and the overall mixture of play-calling was terrific from Eddie Gran.
3rd Down and Long (6 yards or more)
Run: 1 rush, 2 yards (converted 0 of 1)
Pass: 2-6, 31 yards, 1 INT (converted 1 of 6)
Run: 8 rushes, 62 yards (converted 2 of 8)
Pass: 10-20, 157 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks allowed (converted 4 of 22)
Recap: Cats now 6 for 30 for the season but it hasn’t burned them. One nice throw to Baker to continue a drive the lone highlight. Penalties put them in some tough spots too.
3rd Down and Short (5 yards or less)
Run: 3 rushes, 13 yards (converted 1 of 3)
Pass: 1-1, -3 yards (converted 0 of 1)
Run: 22 rushes, 146 yards, 1 TD (converted 17 of 22)
Pass: 6-7, 28 yards, 1 sack allowed (converted 4 of 8)
Recap: A surprisingly poor number considering how good they’ve been all year, but also only faced this situation 4 times because of the great success on 1st and 2nd down. No worries here.