I was a little caught up in the debacle at Spartan Stadium on Saturday that I’m just now catching up on all the sports happenings from Saturday. I was pleased to see that my South Carolina Gamecocks put a hurt on the proud Florida Atlantic Owls. I realize that it is a victory over not a particularly intimidating football team but a 45-6 victory is impressive nonetheless.
What makes it most impressive is the performances put up by Sidney Rice and Syvelle Newton. The duo connected for a school record FIVE touchdowns. Rice, last year a Freshman All-American, had yet to get into the endzone this year following 13 scores last year. I would say Sidney busted out in a big way with 9 catches, 162 yards and the aforementioned 5 touchdowns. Hell, Doug and I would have liked to have him on our fantasy team last week. So, it appears that this is the game that may break Sidney out of the funk that he was playing in, just in time to face Auburn next week.
Newton was also impressive with his 5 touchdown passes. What is really impressive is that Newton was only in the starting lineup because incumbent starter Blake Mitchell got all liquored up and tried to impress some underage girls by punching a bouncer. What is comical about the whole situation is that Newton, who started for the Cocks at QB prior to Spurrier arriving, was replaced by Mitchell because he was too much of a running quarterback. Well with both quarterback having two starts under his belt lets compare some stats: Newton 26/39, 466 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT and a qb rating of 212.7; Mitchell 33/55, 322 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT and a rating of 105.5. So yeah I’ll take the running quarterback, especially when he is vastly superior in every passing statistic to the guy that can’t hit punch hard enough to make someone want to press assault charges.
Hopefully Spurrier won’t do anything crazy and replace Newton, and with the stats as they are I don’t think they is any way he can rationalize putting Mitchell back out there. It may not matter next week with #2 Auburn rolling into Columbia. After watching the LSU-Auburn game I left thinking they might be the best two teams in the country so this could get ugly real quick. Auburn’s defense is fast, aggressive and damn can they hit. I’m a firm believer that Auburn’s defense could shut out at least the Raiders and quite possibly a number of other teams including Detroit and Tennessee. So the moral of the story is that I’m slightly disappointed that this game is going to be on ESPN, because it’ll be a lot less painful to watch on Gamecast than seeing South Carolina players carried off on stretchers.