Saturday, November 25, 2006

ORANGE CRUSH, ACT III -- Clemson recap

--The rivalry is a rivalry again.

--Boyd and Davis -- Mike Davis. It turns out that USC's dynamic duo delivered Saturday. Boyd was almost unstoppable, and executed a juke move that must've made any pro scouts watching the game drool. But the play of the day for USC, in my opinion, was Mike Davis going airborne on the tying TD around the Clemson five-yard line and somehow managing to not come down before he was in the end zone.
--The defense. Yeah, they gave up some big plays -- see below. But they also came up with the crucial play of the game -- a sack of Proctor that pushed the Tigers just far enough back, it seems, to make sure that the potential tying FG listed left.
--Thanks, but no thanks. Spurrier said again that he would return next year. And he slipped in a line that made it seem likely he wasn't thinking of going anywhere: "So, at Gamecock Club (meetings) this summer come by and be ready to purchase your game ball," Spurrier said. "I'll assure you, I'll autograph it for anyone who wants one."

--Big plays. The Tigers' first two touchdowns came on monster plays: A big pass and a big run. The good part of that was that it allowed USC, who preferred working the ball down the field, to get into rhythm on offense. That seemed to be missing for the Tigers.
--Spiller roughs us up. The Gamecocks contained James Davis, but Spiller was a different story, racking up 155 yards. If we end up facing a run-heavy team in the bowl, this could be a good tape for them to watch.
--Nix to exit? It looks like Tyrone Nix could end up elsewhere when the season is over. North Texas State has been asking for his services, he said Saturday. "At the current time I hope I’m a Gamecock for a long time." That's a non-denial denial for you.

--Officiating. Some of the calls were just bad, and they tended to go Carolina's way. But it wasn't just the calls that were bad; it was the whole way the game was handled. Simple calls required minute-long conferences. As far as Clemson fans' complaints that the guys in stripes helped USC win the game (and they will inevitably come), rummaging through some old papers brought me to a picture of the "The Push" that I will gladly share to prove that that's a two-way street.
--An interception gone horribly wrong. Nathan Pepper picked off a Proctor pass and was headed to the end zone before he slowed down. James Davis caught up and knocked the ball out of Pepper's hands and out of the end zone -- a touchback. "Hopefully, he'll learn from that," Spurrier said.
--Blakecisions. One of Mitchell's three picks came on a deflection that happened to present itself to a Clemson defender. But the other two were bad. Here's hoping we're not headed for another regression.


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