Tidbits - October 7, 2021

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TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

WINNING UGLY
  Saluda, Carolina and Clemson all picked up wins over the weekend and all three of them were ugly.
  How can Saluda’s 43-0 win over Eau Claire be ugly?
  Being off the previous week, the Tigers were rusty against the Shamrocks, and they committed four turnovers. You can do that against a bad team like Eau Claire, but you can’t do it the league’s three tough teams, Newberry, Batesburg-Leesville and Grey Collegiate.
  The Eau Claire game was another one of those where the Tigers could have scored 80-100 points if they wanted to, but that’s not the way Stewart Young and his staff coach.
  He has turned the game over to his second team in all four victories, and he did the same in Saluda’s lopsided loss to Rabun County. There are only eight seniors on this year’s team. That means every single returning player next year will be a letterman.
  If there is a problem with winning big, it’s the starters have not come close to playing an entire game, nor have the offensive starters had a chance to pile up impressive stats. I’m sure the players will take wins over stats.
  I first met Phil Strickland when he was named head coach at Ridge Spring-Monetta. Thirty-four years, five state championships and 337 victories later, he’s retiring at the end of this season at Newberry.
  Saluda will travel to take on the Bulldogs Friday. Phil is a fine man, and I hope he picks up many more wins this season ... but not Friday night.
  Carolina struggled to beat Troy Saturday, but a win is a win.
  Carolina’s Jahmar Brown  became the talk of the sports world, and not in a positive way.
  “Sports Illustrated” called it the chaotic play of the season, and “Saturday Down South” called it the dumbest play of the year.
  The play was a amazing. SI in a tweet said, “this sequence during Troy vs. South Carolina is absolutely bonkers: fumble, fumble recovery, fumble, fumble recovery, fumble, touchback.
  If you are one of the two or three people who haven’t seen the play, Brown scooped up the second fumble and ran untouched to the endzone, but before he crossed the goal line, he flipped the ball in the air and in rolled out of the end zone for the touchback.
  The look on Brown’s face was priceless when the refs announced what he had done.
  In “honor” of his dumb move, ESPN ran several plays from the past of players doing similar things, including Clemson’s Ray Ray McElhenney.
  Many Gamecock tweeters used the word “typical.” We’ve seen many unbelievable  blunders before.
  The Gamecocks are 3-2, and many pointed out their only losses are to undefeated teams, Georgia and Kentucky.
  The Carolina offense has stunk, but in the first five games, the Gamecocks have played three of the top ten defenses in the country, Georgia, Troy and Kentucky.
  Tennessee is not supposed to have a good defense. We’ll see if Gamecocks can improve, but the offensive line is going to have to get better.
  Clemson’s game was exciting, if you are not a Clemson fan.
  Boston College was driving in for the winning score, as time was running out, but fumbled and Clemson recovered and ran out the clock.
  It reminded me a of game against Tennessee during the Spurrier years, when the Vols were driving for a last second win until Clowney caused a fumble.
  The close loss dropped he Tigers out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2014. It’s been quite a run.
  I was looking forward to the SEC matchups between Georgia and Arkansas, and Alabama and Mississippi. Both were played up for greatness and both were flops, as Georgia and Alabama won in runaways.
  The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide are the two best teams in the country by far.
  Finally, the long anticipated return of “prodigal son” Tom Brady to New England turned out to be a good game.
  Former Gamecock Ryan Succup kicked what turned out to be the game winning field goal for the Buccaneers, but the Patriots came back, only to miss a 56-yard game clincher.
  Look out! The Patriots are back, even without Tom.