Year in Review: Reliving the Season's Top Moments
There's no way around it. The Gamecocks were dominated in every way by Clemson at Death Valley in Saturday's 56-7 rout.
Still, the Gamecocks are 6-6 and bowl bound, which is as good if not better than the most optimistic of predictions this preseason.
With a bowl game upcoming, let's look at the top five moments from South Carolina's regular season campaign.
Honorable Mentions: Deebo Samuel's kickoff return against Western Carolina, K.C. Crosby's diving touchdown against UMass
5. BAW leads in Moore's stead
Bryson Allen-Williams was one of the few big recruiting gets during Steve Spurrier's latter years, but he was misused in the defensive schemes of Lorenzo Ward and Jon Hoke as he underperformed in his first two years on campus. Allen-Williams bounced around from 4-3 linebacker to defensive end to 3-4 linebacker before Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson took over the defense and Allen-Williams moved to outside linebacker, permanently.
The result? 73 tackles, including two sacks and 8.5 for loss. Allen-Williams also became the main leader of the defense over the course of the year in Skai Moore's absence and was all over the field this season. It's hard to pick one play or moment to encompass all that Allen-Williams has been this season, but having to choose one, I'll use this forced fumble against Florida.
4. The Freisman shines
I'm somewhat cheating on this one by using two different moments in one, but if anyone deserves it, it's Elliott Fry. The senior from Frisco, Texas jumpstarted the Gamecocks' season with a 55-yard game-winner against Vanderbilt.
Then against Missouri, the Freisman passed Collin Mackie to take over the school record for points scored. The former walk-on, type 1 diabetic that looks more like a golfer than a football player has been the most consistent special teamer in South Carolina football history.
3. Rico Dowdle breaks ankles
Rico Dowdle sat out the team's first four games with a groin injury, but worked his way into the lineup over the next few games with a group of solid outings. Against Tennessee, he became the go-to guy, in no small part to plays like this ankle-breaking juke on a 40-yard run in the third quarter. (Seriously, this is one of my all-time favorite gifs)
2. That moment we knew Jake Bentley had "it"
2-4 and coming out of a bye week, the Gamecocks turned to freshman Jake Bentley at the quarterback position, and wow was that a good decision. Against UMass, Bentley completed 17 of 26 passes for 201 yards and two incredible touchdowns. However, he was better than that. Bentley brought an energy that the Gamecocks were missing. Also, he did this.
And made this throw.
1. Bowl Bound
If you had told me before the season that the Gamecocks would go bowling, I'd have asked you the first person to roll a strike. Back in August, I predicted a 4-8 rebuilding year with losses to Vanderbilt and East Carolina. (Yes, I correctly picked the Tennessee game, more a reflection on my view of the Vols than of the Gamecocks) I didn't think this team had the talent to compete with very many teams, but I, like most others, were proven wrong.
We won't find out until Sunday where South Carolina will end up, though we have a pretty good idea. The point stands that though the Gamecocks have a long way to go, getting to a bowl game is a huge step forward for this program. It means another month of Gamecock football. And that has us all felling like this: