Everybody in the South Carolina media circle seems to have an idea of what the immediate future holds for Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley. After getting roughed up a bit by UNC in Saturday’s season-opening loss to the Tar Heels in Charlotte, Bentley will reportedly be set to miss some playing time in the coming weeks. The length of the possible missed time is unconfirmed at this time, although one report notes Bentley will be out for the next six weeks.
According to Mike Uva of WACH, Bentley will be out for the next six weeks with a broken foot. Backup quarterback Ryan Hilinski would then be elevated to the starting job in Bentley’s absence if that is indeed the situation in Columbia.
It should be noted that South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp will address the media on Tuesday, as per the regular season media availability schedule. It should be expected Bentley’s status will be addressed formally at that time.
If Bentley needs time off, this week is a good week to give the starter a rest regardless of the situation. South Carolina hosts Charleston Southern, an FCS program, in their home opener this weekend. That should be a game that South Carolina can win with a third or fourth-string walk-on quarterback, so resting Bentley is not a bad idea. But if he does need to miss extended playing time, freshman Hilinski could be stepping into a golden opportunity to create a bit of quarterback controversy. If Bentley is out for a max of six weeks, Hilinski would be slotted as the starter for games against Charleston Southern, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, and Georgia. Bentley could then return for a home game against Florida if he is deemed ready after six weeks off.
We’ll see what Muschamp has to say tomorrow, if not before.
It’s been a long time coming for UNC head coach Mack Brown. In his first game on the sidelines since the 2013 season, Brown coached his Tar Heels to rally past South Carolina in the Belk College Football Kickoff Game in Charlotte, 24-20. It is the first time Brown has won a game since a Thanksgiving game between Brown’s Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech in 2013. On top of that, Brown got the win against his former assistant Will Muschamp, who was once named the head coach in waiting at Texas under Brown.
South Carolina had a 13-3 lead in the second quarter and took a 20-9 lead into the fourth quarter. But UNC kept grinding away and the defense rattled Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley. Bentley was intercepted twice in the final minutes of the game, both times by Myles Wolfolk, and he fumbled the football on the final play of the game. That ball was returned for a touchdown, but the game was already cemented in the win column for UNC.
For UNC, it was really the defense that led the way. South Carolina had just three third-down conversions in 13 tries and every possession after going up 20-9 ended with a punt or turnover the rest of the game for South Carolina.
Freshman quarterback Sam Howell got the start for UNC and he was solid in his Tar Heel debut. Howell passed for 245 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Running back Javonte Williams went over the century mark to out-rush his South Carolina counterpart Tavien Feaster.
And here’s a fun little nugget. Brown has now won three consecutive games at UNC. Brown left UNC for Texas after the 1997 season, after UNC had gone 10-1 in the regular season. That season ended on a three-game winning streak with victories for UNC over Clemson, Duke and Virginia Tech (in the Gator Bowl, years before Virginia Tech was an ACC member). However, Brown did not coach the Tar Heels in the Gator Bowl because he left for Texas after accepting an offer from the Longhorns.
Brown will look to score his fourth consecutive win at UNC next week when UNC hosts Miami in an ACC Coastal Division matchup. Miami was off in Week 1 after opening their season against Florida in Week 0 (and losing to the Gators).
South Carolina will hope to get in the win column next week with a home game against Charleston Southern.
Mack Brown is back on the college football sidelines, but the scoreboard is not in his favor in his first half back in the game. South Carolina leads Brown’s North Carolina Tar Heels 13-6 in the Belk College Football Kickoff Game in Charlotte.
Neither team has displayed stellar offense, as the defenses have been doing a solid job of keeping things from going off the rails. After exchanging field goals on the first two possessions of the game, South Carolina was the first to reach the end zone in the first quarter. Tavien Feaster went free for a 34-yard touchdown run on a drive that was jumpstarted by a personal foul penalty on Raymond Vohasek on the first play of the drive. Both teams later exchanged missed field goals before once again exchanging field goals in the second quarter. North Carolina’s 47-yard attempt was blocked after South Carolina’s Parker White missed a 53-yard attempt.
Jake Bentley of South Carolina has been praised as one of the better passers in the SEC, although he has not been lighting up the box score just yet. Freshman Sam Howell of North Carolina has had a pedestrian debut as well. If the first half was any indication, this game will be dictated more by the defenses in the second half. We may not have a shootout on our hands at all here.
And now for a quarterback award watch list that won’t include a certain starting quarterback form Clemson or Alabama. The Johnny Unitas Foundation has released the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to college football’s top senior or fourth-year quarterback. This year’s watch list includes some recognizable names such as Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
Former Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew was named the winner of the award in 2018. Just one finalist for the 2018 award is on the watch list this season. Michigan’s Shea Patterson is that player (UCF’s McKenzie Milton was a finalist last year but is not expected to play this season despite still being at UCF as he recovers from his season-ending injury from late in 2018).
Other past winners include Deshaun Watson (2016), Marcus Mariota (2014), Andrew Luck (2011), Matt Ryan (2007), Eli Manning (2003), Carson Palmer (2002) and Peyton Manning (1997).
2019 Golden Arm Award Watch List Presented by A. O. Smith
- Jack Abraham, Southern Mississippi
- Blake Barnett, University of South Florida
- Woody Barrett, Kent State
- Jake Bentley, University of South Carolina
- Anthony Brown, Boston College
- Kelly Bryant, Missouri
- Joe Burrow, LSU
- Stephen Buckshot Calvert, Liberty
- Marcus Childers, Northern Illinois
- K.J. Costello, Stanford Unversity
- Jacob Eason, Washington University
- Caleb Evans, University of Louisiana Monroe
- Mason Fine, North Texas
- Feleipe Franks, University of Florida
- Mitchell Guadagni, Toledo
- Jarrett Guarantano, University of Tennessee
- Gage Gubrud, Washington State University
- Quentin Harris, Duke University
- Justin Herbert, University of Oregon
- Kelvin Hopkins, Jr., Army
- Tyler Huntley, University of Utah
- Jalen Hurts, University of Oklahoma
- Josh Jackson, University of Maryland
- D’Eriq King, Houston
- Brian Lewerke, Michigan State University
- Jordan Love, Utah State University
- Jake Luton, Oregon State University
- Cole McDonald, University of Hawaii
- Justin McMillan, Tulane
- Steven Montez, University of Colorado
- James Morgan, FIU
- Riley Neal, Vanderbilt University
- Kato Nelson, Akron
- Shea Patterson, University of Michigan
- Bryce Perkins, University of Virginia
- Malcolm Perry, Navy
- Peyton Ramsey, Indiana University
- Armani Rogers, UNLV
- Nathan Rourke, Ohio
- Anthony Russo, Temple University
- J’Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech
- Nate Stanley, University of Iowa
- Dillon Sterling-Cole, Arizona State University
- Khalil Tate, University of Arizona
- Zac Thomas, Appalachian State University
- Skylar Thompson, Kansas State
- Brady White, University of Memphis
- Ryan Willis, Virginia Tech
- Brandon Wimbush, University of Central Florida
With so many headlines being made by players choosing to leave school early, there are still a number of players choosing to come back for another year of college football. Among those choosing to stay put for one more season will be South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, who made his decision known with a brief music video hare don his Twitter account Friday afternoon.
Bentley passed for 3,171 yards and 27 touchdowns for South Carolina this season with a passer rating of 146.25. There may have been some question about what Bentley was going to decide, especially after a rough showing in the bowl game against Virginia. Bentley was held to 17-of-39 for 218 yards and two interceptions in the game. But his performance against Clemson with five touchdowns and 510 passing yards was the highlight of the season even if it came in a losing effort against the ACC champions, who will be playing for the national championship Monday night against Alabama.
There were certainly some highs and lows for Bentley this season that suggested he could benefit from another season in Columbia, and if he continues to develop and work on his game then he could start to draw some attention to himself a bit more from NFL scouts. It will be a crowded quarterback draft pool a year from now though, which is why it might have been thought Bentley could take a shot at the NFL now with a more shallow pool of passers.