The South Carolina Gamecocks have turned the college football world on its ears the past two weeks. After upsetting and embarrassing Tennessee on November 19th 63-38, the Gamecocks did it again this past Saturday afternoon with a 31-30 upset of rival Clemson. South Carolina has become a big time spoiler, ending Tennessee's playoff hopes, then ending any hopes that Clemson had for the post season and also ended the nation's longest home winning streak at 40 straight wins in "Death Valley."
Was it "lightning in a bottle " or is South Carolina really that good? According to head coach Shane Beamer, his team became focused after playing poorly and losing at Florida.
They lost that game 38-6 to a mediocre Florida team, then a week later totally embarrassed top-ranked Tennessee. That sounds a lot like "lightning in a bottle" to me. Don't get me wrong....I'm not down playing those two great victories but it's hard to imagine any team showing that much improvement in just one week. It could be that the Gamecocks were big underachievers in the first 10 games of the season.
The catalyst of this quick turnaround by South Carolina is quarterback Spencer Rattler. In the first 10 games of the season, Rattler threw eight touchdown passes with nine interceptions. In the final two games of the year, he threw eight TD passes. That gives him 16 for the season. Though Rattler did the job on the field, the great wizard so to speak is offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield. You may remember Satterfield when he was a graduate assistant coach at UTC. He's been a lot of places and even spent two seasons as head coach at Tennessee Tech.
Satterfield took a lot of heat when the Gamecocks were struggling earlier in the season. However, he's been getting more than his share of praise over the last two weeks and rightly so. It seems every play he calls is golden and it's turned South Carolina into a team that will command a lot of respect in the pre-season next year. The quick turnaround for the Gamecocks is nothing short of amazing, regardless of whether it's "lightning in a bottle" or the fact that the team suddenly woke up and started playing like a top-five team.
No matter what the reason is for the team's success, when the 2023 season rolls around, South Carolina will be a force to be reckoned with.
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Randy Smith can be reached at email@example.com