South Carolina/ Missouri Preview
South Carolina and Missouri meet for the Mayor’s Cup on Saturday night. The trophy is a nod to the fact that both teams hail from the city of Columbia in their respective states. The two teams meet with each having hopes a bowl game in their future. The outcome of this contest will go a long way in determining the postseason hopes for each program. The Gamecocks will have their sixth win and bowl eligibility if they can come home with a SEC road win. Meanwhile, the Tigers will get back to .500 if they can defend their home turf and will need just one more win to secure a postseason spot.
South Carolina vs Missouri Preview
Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks are coming off their best performance and biggest win of the season. They dominated Florida in a 40-17 at home to push their record to 5-4. It was the first time all season that this team had played well in all three phases in the same game. Now they must show that wasn’t a fluke and avoid a letdown at Missouri.
The Tigers are coming off a humbling defeat to the nations top team Georgia. They have the advantage of being at home but are limping into this contest with losses in four of their last six games. Missouri also has questions at quarterback, with Connor Bazelak likely to miss his second straight week with an injury.
When the Gamecock Have the Ball
South Carolina had been struggling mightily on offense the first eight games of the season. Then coming off a bye week, they seem to put it all together against the Gators. Jason Brown was solid and efficient in his first SEC start. He made good decisions all night and found Josh Vann and his tight ends to great effect. The biggest takeaway from the victory, however, was the Gamecocks run game. The offensive line was physical and avoided the missed assignments that hurt them early in the year. Kevin Harris and Zaquandre White each ran for over 100 yards.
This could spell bad news for the Tigers. They rank near the bottom nationally in run defense. If South Carolina can control the line of scrimmage and get their stable of tailbacks rolling, it could be a long night for Missouri. The home team will likely try to load the box and force Brown to prove he can beat them through the air. Vann is fully healthy after a groin injury slowed him down for a few weeks. The Tigers will have to keep him contained. The Gamecocks also avoided penalties against Florida. They will need to do the same on the road this Saturday. Jaylon Carlies has four interceptions this season and will look to force a mistake from a quarterback making his first road start.
When the Tigers Have the Ball
Missouri’s offense begins and ends with one man, Tyler Badie. The senior tailback already has 1000 yards on the ground, and he also leads the team with 45 receptions. Expect him to touch the ball a lot. The Gamecocks defensive line and linebackers will be tasked with slowing him down. Kingsley Enagbare leads the front seven in garnet and black. He has been rated as one of the three best defensive line performers all season by Pro Football Focus. While he only has 4.5 sacks on the year, he is constantly in the opponent’s backfields. He disrupts plays and open things up for guys like Zacch Pickens and Aaron Sterling to make things happen.
Jaylan Foster anchors an improving secondary for the Gamecocks. He is tied for the national lead in interceptions with five. The Tigers will have one of two freshmen, Brady Cook or Tyler Macon under center if Bazelak can’t go. South Carolina’s defense has 12 interceptions on the season, so the two young signal callers will need to be careful with the ball. The Gamecocks have four touchdowns on defense, so turnovers will be a huge point of emphasis in this one. Chritauskie Dove is the main threat on the outside for the Tigers. He leads them in yards and has at least three catches in every game but one.
The kicking game in this one is about as even as you could get. Both teams have the upmost confidence in their field goal unit. Harrison Mevis and Parker White are both 13-14 on field goals and have combined to hit all 55 extra points they have attempted. Kris Abrams-Draine
Written by: David Knight