COLUMBIA, SC - A look at the scoring in today's Bulldog win.
Eager for Redemption
Tim Jennings allowed Troy Williamson to break a tackle on the way to a 65-yard touchdown pass and then allowed Williamson to catch another 54-yard pass in the first half. Those two plays accounted for 44 percent of the Gamecocks' offense and characterized a rough half for the No. 3 Bulldogs' cornerbacks.
"Obviously, I wasn't fired up about what happened Saturday," secondary coach Willie Martinez said.
Jennings and counterpart DeMario Minter bounced back in the fourth quarter. Minter helped stop quarterback Dondrial Pinkins on a fourth-down run, and Jennings tipped away two passes on the Gamecocks' final drive. The second of those ended up as a Paul Oliver interception.
That's not enough for Jennings, though. He thinks there's still more to prove.
"We want to make a statement to the rest of the teams we play," he said.
They'll get a chance this week against Marshall (0-2) and quarterback Stan Hill, who averaged 294.5 yards per game last year before being lost to a knee injury. His completion percentage (69.6) ranked fourth in the nation. His backup, Graham Gochneaur, came in and completed more than 65 percent of his passes.
"They know what they want to do in the passing game," Martinez said.
Hill has returned this season and completed 36 of 62 passes for 292 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but Martinez, who played against the Marshall passing game when he was at Eastern and Central Michigan, said he's paying no attention to those modest numbers. In fact, Hill is in the mold of Chad Pennington, the former Marshall star who now quarterbacks the New York Jets, he said.
"The first two teams we played didn't make their living throwing the football," Coach Mark Richt said. "We'll be tested in a much greater way against Marshall."
Against Georgia Southern and South Carolina, the Bulldogs used their nickel package, five defensive backs instead of the traditional four, 8-to-10 times, Martinez said. They expect to match that total in the first half this week. Minter compared the Thundering Herd's offense to Purdue's.
"Their passing game is their rush offense," he said. "They're just going to chip away at you. I like that, it gives the secondary the opportunity to make plays."
Senior Josh Davis is Marshall's leading wide receiver with 11 catches for 113 yards. Freshman Emanuel Spann has eight catches for 42 yards. "They've got some nice little receivers," Minter said.
Jennings and Minter each have six tackles this year and have combined for three pass breakups.
"I think we've still got a lot more growing to do," Minter said.
They'll get plenty of opportunities to do that this week.
"If they want to pick on us, I think we can shut them down," Minter said.
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