Honesty Hour: Takeaways from the Tennessee game

Another week, another week the Gamecocks fall in a hole only to come back but suffer a tough loss. Here, we’ll evaluate some of the takeaways from the Tennessee game in this week’s Honesty Hour.

1. This loss was a moral victory.

I’ve never been a big fan of moral victories in sports, but the more I watch this year’s team, the more I’m inclined to start accepting them. They keep losing but then next week the Gamecocks come out and play better than they had before. It’s intriguing to watch how this team can keep taking losses and keep playing better and better. It seems like the team is rallying together after getting so close to upsetting Texas A&M and Tennessee.  So after seeing how well the team has carried itself after these losses, especially against the Volunteers, I can say it’s a moral victory.

2. The Gamecocks have found their starter at QB for the rest of the season.

True. After coming in for Lorenzo Nunez at Missouri, Perry Orth has been one of the big playmakers on offense. That showed against Tennessee when he played well (when the offensive line allowed him to step up in the pocket) and he did not turn the ball over. There had still been some talk about Nunez getting more and more playing time, but if Orth keeps up his consistent, mistake-free football, he’ll be a big weapon, and the starter, these last three weeks.

3. The team can still go to a bowl game.

Dreamers can dream right? A bowl is still a possibility, but it’s an uphill battle to get there. The Gamecocks are facing two teams that will be playing in a conference championship game, including a Clemson team ranked No. 1 in the country, and a 7-2 Citadel team. To solidify a bowl game, the Gamecocks must win out. They have a slight edge since all three games are at home. If the team drops one of those games, they’d have to have special permission to go to a bowl, which is unlikely.

4. The defense figured out how to get back on track after the loss.

Nope. It seems like that’s been the story of the season for Hoke, Ward and the rest of the defense. Adjustments are made at halftime; the defense plays well, only to see the next week’s offense torch them through the first half. It was the same thing against the Vols, who marched down the field with ease and scored two touchdowns on their first two possessions. The defense will have to play a complete game (not three quarters or a half) to really show it can stop top-notch SEC offenses.

5. Tennessee's band plays Rocky Top just as much as it does when it travels to Williams-Brice for away games.

No way. It seems like they play it even more when they’re in the friendly confines. Even when the team wasn’t on the field, the familiar tune echoed through the stadium. It played three times pregame, twice during half time and a few more times after the game. The imaginary over/under line I set before the game for “Rocky Tops” played was 35-1/2. The unofficial number was 20, which wasn’t far under the line. It’s a song that doesn’t seem to die in the Smoky Mountains.