Originally posted on Leftover Hot Dog  |  Last updated 10/31/11

Gamecocks beat Tennessee and I must say, sitting here in London that it is great to be a Gamecock.

Here are some thoughts for the day after the UT win....

God bless the internet, after 8 years of tape delays and ESPN Gametracker, I was able to watch my first live South Carolina game in eight years.

I can tell you this...I liked what I saw in USC. Flounder outlined all the key points in the game as astutely as ever. The game was a grind but a controlled grind thanks to the defense.

Yet again they took the spark out of the opposing team at critical moments (I cannot get enough of Swearinger and actually screamed aloud here at 2:45 am when he made the interception). Connor Shaw stepped up to the task and although not an exceptional performance, managed to play with some poise and got the points needed for the win.

Connor Shaw is 4-0 as a starter and that is nothing to sneeze at.  He is using his wheels nicely in the zone-read scheme. Must say, Shaw has great promise and I look forward to watching him develop.  Connor needs to grow as a leader and grow his confidence.
 
What more can be said of this defense. Besides the two picks, they limited the Vols to 186 yards. They controlled the pace in a tough road game and allowed Connor Shaw to pick his spots and put needed points on the board. Vols QB Justin Worley had the air taken out by Swearinger's pick on the Carolina two yard line. Worley never got a chance to get into any groove but as I said last week, the SEC isn't High School. Hats off to Stephon Gilmores's pick in the end zone as well as he needed it and let's hope it gets his confidence up.
 
I had to groan a little when i saw on one website this morning that we "escaped" with a win in Neyland Stadium. Close...yes but not a "escape" type win. I saw Carolina go on the road to play a difficult match-up against the Vols and pickup a hard fought win in which they were favored. Any road game in the SEC is a potential nightmare, and I thought the guys did a fine job controlling the tempo and walked out of Knoxville with their heads held high.  
 
Can we please now let the "Garcia is gone/Lattimore is hurt" chapter to be moved in to the past? I cannot wait to see Marcus Lattimore back in the lineup next season but for now lets get behind Brandon Wilds. He simply went out and got 28 Carries for 137  yards.  Nothing pretty, but he got it done. He is now another weapon and the opposing teams will key on him in the ensuing games. The kid impressed me, as did the rest of the team, in their attitude. They kept the pressure on the Vols all night and stepped up when it counted. With Wilds now hoping to gain some traction with a post-Lattimore running game, it will allow Connor Shaw more time to air it out. I dont think the Vols expected a running game of 100+ yards out of Wilds and he exceeded expectations. Keep up the good work Wilds as the team needs ya.
 
Changing thoughts

Florida could not handle Georgia. As much as I despise UGA, they stepped up and won.That would have been icing on the cake after a Carolina win and watching Georgia Tech take Clemson down a peg.

The rest of the season and Carolina's future are beginning to take focus and although 7-1 is a great feeling, the hard part is now coming. Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) threw for 316 yards against Vanderbilt and now has amassed over 2300 yards on the season. The Carolina secondary is going to have its hands full with Wilson, as he makes few mistakes.
 
So where do we stand with a upcoming hard road game with Arkansas? After our performance versus UT and seeing how Vanderbilt played against Arkansas, I am looking forward to the challenge as confidence is high. 

Carolina now believes in Connor Shaw. His passing game will get better as it has too. Coach Spurrier mixed up the play-calling a bit as the Vols keyed on Alshon Jeffery allowing other plays to develop. The offensive line needs work and is the key to this game against the Hogs.
 
Their is a winning attitude in the USC stride and I think this week we have a shot for beating Arkansas. The key matchup though for the SEC race is going to be against Florida.  Georgia will most likely runover Kentucky, so we cant hope for a win there - we need to beat the Gators. If we lose, and Georgia wins against Kentucky, the fat lady sings.  I would love for an upset over Arkansas, but I'm looking at the Gator match with fear.  As for now, still atop the SEC East and a road win in Knoxville. Well done Gamecocks.

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