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After finishing the regular season with six wins and making some waves with a few big conference wins, South Carolina finished off 2021 with a dominating performance against North Carolina. A physical football game from the Gamecocks led to the 38-21 win over the Mack Brown led Tar Heels.
Earlier in the week Shane Beamer mentioned that the Gamecocks would be trying to mix in some different guys at the quarterback position and on Thursday afternoon that was the case. Dakereon Joyner, who plays wide receiver, went 9-9 for 160 yards and 1 touchdown, throwing off the Tar Heel defense for four quarters. But it was also the physicality from South Carolina that caused problems for the opposing defense. I don’t think many folks saw the Gamecocks punishing the Tar Heels’ defensive line, but that’s exactly how it went down today.
As for the domination along the offensive line, Kevin Harris rushed for 182 yards on 31 carries, with 1 touchdown. There was never a time in this game where folks should’ve been nervous about North Carolina making a comeback, as the Gamecocks shutdown the passing attack of Sam Howell. The Tar Heels were looking to catch the the opposing secondary sleeping, especially with the Gamecocks missing a few defenders in the secondary. But, the Gamecocks pass rush and ability to get after the quarterback forced Howell to only complete 12 passes for 205 yards and 1 touchdown.
This was the last game for quarterback Zeb Noland, who came off the sidelines from being a Graduate Assistant, to leading the team as the starting quarterback. If it weren’t for Noland, this team definitely doesn’t get to seven wins.
Obviously, this win will bring momentum for the Shane Beamer led Gamecocks, as they enter the offseason. With two huge additions coming to the team in QB Spencer Rattler and TE Austin Stogner, this team is looking towards an explosive 2022. The biggest thing to look forward to if you’re a South Carolina fan has to be the offensive production. After closing out the season with wins over Florida, Auburn and now North Carolina, this team has a lot of juice heading into winter workouts. But mainly, this program feels like they have some life, which couldn’t be said for previous years.
After Shane Beamer gets the Mayo out his his hair, he’ll start working towards putting together a game plan to attack next season. The excitement level around the program should be near an all-time high, just off the spark this team gave to the first-year head coach. He’s off to a great start in the rebuilding off the program and today is an example of that.
So now, after the dominating performance, the Gamecocks will look toward the future, which looks a lot brighter now than it did only five months ago.