After years of being on the verge of becoming part of the SEC’s elite and making it to a BCS bowl game, South Carolina took a huge step backwards this season. At least the disappointing year ended with something to smile about, beating Miami 24-21 in the Independence Bowl.
Dylan Thompson had a great game to end his college football career with 284 passing yards and two touchdowns, and capped it off in the fourth quarter by executing the read option perfectly, faking the entire Miami defense to one side while running for a two yards touchdown that put him team up 24-14, enough to secure them the victory despite giving up another touchdown with 2:16 left in the game, which didn’t change the outcome.
Thompson was helped in his throwing by Pharoh Cooper who caught nine passes for 170 yards, including one touchdown that counted as a 78-yard pass play, but was mostly Cooper making mince meat of the Miami defense. He also made a huge catch down the sidelines to set up Thompson running for the game-clinching touchdown. Thompson also threw one touchdown pass to running back Mike Davis who has already announced he’s leaving school a year early to go to the NFL. He and his teammates did a terrible job, rushing for only 60 yards on 30 carries.
Miami had the edge on the ground courtesy of Duke Johnson with 132 yards as the Junior finished with 1652 yards this season. But once again, putting up big numbers was easier for him than getting into the end zone. He didn’t score a touchdown in this game and finishes with just 10 this season. Quarterback Brad Kaaya struggled for most of the game, throwing one interception and one touchdown pass. It was another loss in a crucial game for Miami, a team filled with future NFL talent, that doesn’t translate into success in College Football.