South Carolina 26, Michigan 19

South Carolina 26, Michigan 19 Comment Count

Ace January 1st, 2018 at 4:31 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

New year, same Michigan.

In one of the uglier games of an aesthetically unpleasant season, the Wolverines never managed to cobble together a coherent offense, and five-second half turnovers beget 23 unanswered points for South Carolina.

Quarterback Brandon Peters, playing behind a line down three starters by halftime, never looked comfortable. Factoring in two sacks, Peters averaged only 3.7 yards per dropback and missed a number of throws, including two late interceptions to seal the loss. Michigan fared little better on the ground, gaining all of 2.9 yards per carry.

While the Jim Harbaugh takes will reach a level of scorching usually reserved for large celestial bodies, it's fair to criticize the playcalling, which didn't do much to take the pressure off Peters or Don Brown's futilely amazing defense. No single call was responsible for the loss, but the third-and-short handoff to tight end Sean McKeon, fumbled for a South Carolina recovery, defied explanation until Harbaugh, taking responsibility, said after the game that Michigan had the wrong personnel on the field.


[Campredon]

That play was just one in a series of mistakes that turned a 19-3 second-half lead into a 26-19 loss. Karan Higdon fumbled inside the South Carolina five-yard line with the Wolverines leading 16-3 and poised to blow the game wide open. After Michigan added a field goal and SC responded their first touchdown drive, McKeon's fumble gave the Gamecocks the ball on the M 21; they needed one play to score again, with Jake Bentley's pass to Bryan Edwards cutting the lead to 19-16.

Michigan's ensuing drive went nowhere, and the defense—as we've seen too many times this year—cracked under the pressure of supporting an inept offense. Bentley improbably converted a third-and-17 on a jump ball to tight end Hayden Hurst; three plays later, Shi Smith beat Tyree Kinnel clean to the pylon for a 53-yard score.

The comedy of errors continued unabated. After driving Michigan 75 yards in seven plays, Peters committed a cardinal sin of quarterbacking, throwing under pressure across his body to get intercepted in the end zone. When the defense held, SC's punt clanged off Donovan Peoples-Jones's facemask, setting up the Gamecocks with the ball in the red zone, where they'd get a critical field goal to take a two-possession advantage.

Down to one timeout in the waning minutes, Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth-and-ten deep in his own territory, but Peters's deep shot to Kekoa Crawford wasn't anywhere close to a completion. The defense gave Michigan one last chance, pushing SC back to force a missed field goal. Another interception by Peters, forcing it to a well-covered Crawford, ended it.

Fair or not, this will be a long offseason. The mitigating factors, or excuses, or whatever you care to call them, go away in 2018, when the program will be loaded with talent recruited by Harbaugh. They'll certainly look better than this. They'd better look a whole lot better.

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Fee Fi Foe Film: South Carolina Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: South Carolina Offense Comment Count

Seth December 30th, 2017 at 9:00 AM

[UPDATE: Deebo Samuel is out with a broken leg/sprained foot]

Previously: Defense

[Author reliever note: Your Jack Morris of Foe Film is exhausted, so the Willie Hernandez of Foe Film is coming in to close out the season.]

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OBC left us this one magic spell

South Carolina’s offense is bad for good reasons, and Clemson’s defense is very good. Unlike some rivalry games however, the bad offense was just as unimaginative as it was feckless. In fact Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper a few days after it.

In the aftermath receivers coach Bryan McClendon was upgraded from nominal co-OC to official interim OC. For this one-game audition in Don Brown’s Hell they didn’t leave McClendon much to work with. Old Ball Coach Steve Spurrier retired two years ago and left his heirs with a handful of interior linemen, a tight end, some old golf clubs, and a strategy guide for stretching the definition of “on the line of scrimmage.”

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They’ve also rarely started the same 11 two games straight, a combination of minor injuries and sifting through their collection of teenagers for players.

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four guys on this offense held down a single position all season

The result of all this youth and mediocre coaching is the 88th offense this year to MGoBlog-favored fancystat S&P+. The running game is a grab-bag of stuff they don’t do very well. The passing game is West Coast dump-offs to the running backs and option routes to their one sophomore receiver. The one thing it has going for it is a good receiving tight end.

Personnel: My diagram gets bigger if you click it. (Also because I was at a wedding when Ace put the SC defense post together here's the promised chart for that).

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The RB rotation is three co-equal starters given the “OR” designation. Turner started the first half of 2016 before losing carries to Rico Dowdle, who’s out for this game with a broken fibula. The third, Ty’son Williams, got the majority of snaps against Clemson and was the least likely to run away from a gaping hole. Dowdle’s absence gives us room to include spectacularly named Randrecous Davis, the backup slot receiver who inherited injured Shi Smith’s snaps in the Clemson game. Both are freshmen.

Outside, Bryan Edwards gets over a quarter of their targets, often on sight adjustment (option) routes. Another true freshman receiver, OrTre Smith (no relation), has replaced injured Deebo Samuel, who was also their kick and punt returner. According to people who watched more SC than me that's a big loss.

None of the offensive linemen looked very good against Clemson, but Clemson’s DL tends to do that to mere mortals. Everyone got out-athleted at least once, but they also did a fair job at picking up Venables’s nasty blitzes—punt.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown]

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Fee Fi Foe Film: South Carolina Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: South Carolina Defense Comment Count

Ace December 28th, 2017 at 4:19 PM

All-SEC linebacker Skai Moore covers a lot of ground.

South Carolina's schedule made it difficult to pick a game to scout. Over the last two months, they've faced two playoff teams (Georgia and Clemson), four SEC squads ranked worse than 80th in S&P+, and Wofford.

I chose Clemson given the comparably fierce defense to Michigan. The offenses are, uh, different. As such, I expect SC to take a slightly different approach than what I saw in this game, but thankfully Will Muschamp's schemes are well-known at this point. In this game, Clemson picked apart his pet coverage in a way Michigan should be able to reclicate. The Tigers jumped out to a 34-0 lead before setting it on cruise control for most of the second half.

Personnel: Seth's diagram will go up tomorrow along with the offense post, as he's currently at a wedding. South Carolina doesn't have any recent major injuries to report on defense; they lost talented SLB Bryson Allen-Williams early in the year.

Base Set? Multiple. Muschamp runs a DJ Durkin-like 4-3 (he's even used the same BUCK terminology for the weakside end) that often morphs into a three-man front, including quite often a true 3-4 look with a zero-tech nose.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]

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