Tidbits - September 19 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

MORAL VICTORY.....

  The Gamecocks Saturday took me back to my youth, when I felt good about a close loss.
  Of course, on paper, Saturday’s loss to Alabama wasn’t close, but it felt like it.
  I like the fact the coaches pulled out all stops. If they had coached against UNC like they coached against Alabama, then the Tar Heels would have fallen.
  I also agree with one sports’ pundit on Twitter, who said he liked Jake Bentley, but  if Ryan Hilinski had played against the Tar Heels, the Gamecocks would have won.
  In just two games Hilinski has shown of what he is made.
  I’m like most, his 282 yards passing against Charleston Southern can be taken with a grain of salt, but to throw for 324 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama is quite an accomplishment for an 18-year-old.
  As time was running out, he literally got head butted by a Crimson Tide defender, and he got back up, shook it off and threw a touchdown pass as time was running out.
  That is the definition of calm under pressure. I’m not worried about Carolina’s quarterback position from here on out. If he can play that well against the number two team in the country, he can play well against every team on the schedule.
  Carolina fans have posted memes of the referees wearing Alabama caps. Count the two touchdowns the refs took away, and the score of the game is much closer. It’s still a loss, but what kind of momentum change would have happened if Rico Dowdle’s run was counted as a touchdown before halftime? The Gamecocks came away with nothing. The halftime score should have been 24-17, Carolina, with the Gamecocks getting the second half  kick-off.
  According to the rules, the refs had blown the whistle thinking Dowdle’s knee had touched, so the play was not reviewable.
  The holding call on the fake field goal touchdown was questionable, but what a great play! Les Miles of LSU ran the same play against Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks several years ago, and it proved to be the game winner.
  I was glad to see the coaches in the last two weeks get away from the bland offensive play calling they used in the North Carolina game.
  The Tar Heels Mack Brown definitely outcoached Will Muschamp. I wouldn’t say Nick Saban outcoached Will, he just outplayered him.
  Tua and his receivers were unbelievable, making Carolina’s pass defense nonexistent.
  That is a concern. The Gamecock defense was supposed to be better this year. Against UNC and Bama, there is no evidence of improvement.
  So, where does Carolina go from here? Still remaining on the schedule are top ranked Clemson and third ranked Georgia. You can count those in advance as losses.
  The rest of the games are winnable, including Florida and Texas A&M, who are overrated in my opinion.
  I’ve got confidence in Hilinski that I didn’t have in  Bentley.
  Now, we need the coaches to do their jobs, and outcoach the staffs from Missouri, Kentucky, etc.
  I noticed on social media a good many Clemson fans were commenting on the Carolina game.
  I guess it must be boring pulling for the Tigers, because they are the number one team in the country, and they’ve already blown out what most said were the two toughest teams on their schedule, Texas A&M and Syracuse.
  The rest of the way looks like a cake walk.
  Home conference games remaining on the schedule for Clemson include Florida State, Boston College, and Wake Forest. FSU has been an embarrassment and Boston College lost to Kansas, the worst Power 5 team in America,  Friday, and wasn’t even close.
  Wake is unbeaten and upset North Carolina in a “non-conference” game Friday, but Wake is not going to beat Clemson.
  ACC road opponents left are North Carolina, Louisville, and NC State.
  Non-conference games left  are Charlotte and Wofford at home,  and a road  trip to Carolina.
  I’m sure the Tigers are quivering over that slate.
  In Yahoo’s “Winners & Losers” this week, one the “Losers” was the entire ACC, with the exception of the Tigers. It cited the Boston College loss, Virginia Tech’s narrow loss to Furman, N.C. State’s loss to a bad West Virginia team, and Georgia Tech’s loss to The Citadel.
  How can a Power 5 team lose to The Citadel? Oh, yeah, I forgot.
  Finally, I am diametrically opposed to colleges playing games on Friday night.
  Friday nights belong to high schools, and colleges should not compete with high schools who need those gate receipts.
  But, of course, the mighty TV bucks rule the roost.

GIVING IT ALL

  Pelion entered Friday’s game at Saluda having scored a grand total of two points the entire season.
  Even though the Panthers are 3-A, you knew the undefeated 2-A Tigers were not going to have any trouble. They didn’t.
  The Pelion offense, including the punter, had a miserable evening, thanks to the Tiger defense. They finished with minus-11 yards in total offense, but they did score their first touchdown of the year.
  Despite the dominance by the Tigers, the Panthers never quit. Good for them.
  Every school has been through what Pelion is going through so far this season.
  My junior year at Saluda High, the football team was 0-11, the boys basketball team as 1-19, and the girls team was 2-18. Do the math. The tHree teams were 3-49. It was a long year.
  Against Pelion the Tiger defense was tremendous.
  What about the offense?
  “Our offense was sluggish Friday,” a fan said.
  “Oh, yeah. What was the score?” asked another.
  “50-7.”
  “That’s sluggish???”
  Yes, the defense was the star unit for the Tigers against Pelion.
  The offense did not earn a first down until the last play of the first quarter, but they came to life in the second quarter. Some of that could be due to the one hour delay to the start of the game because of storms, and the wet field conditions.
  The Tigers will take a “sluggish” 50-7 win any time!
  The Tigers have this week off, then travel to Southside Christian in two weeks to take on the Sabres.
  Saluda’s season ended last year at the stadium in what was the most miserable night of my life.
  It was cold and wet, and I’ll be glad to go up there when it is warm... and I hope dry.
  SSC lost 14-10 to top ranked Abbeville Friday.
  Some bulletin board fodder emerged on Twitter Saturday.
  I won’t mentioned his name, but this fellow wrote: “SSC is the second best team in upstate. Saluda is probably 3. Our defense this year is just nasty and you better come to play. Saluda does not have the receivers that SSC does.....”
  This guy, obviously, has not seen the Tigers nor their receivers play.
  I noticed that several of Saluda’s receivers had retweeted the post!
  Another tweet that drew response came from The CFB Show, who wrote: “I think South Carolina might have the coolest stadium in college football. Discuss.”
  Well, the “discuss” turned orange very quickly!