When/where: 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Columbia
TV/radio: ESPN2; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)
The series: Missouri leads 2-1
The line: Missouri by 3
Whats at stake
A stranglehold on the Southeast Conferences East Division. Missouri currently owns a two-game advantage in the loss column and can practically wrap up a spot in the SEC championship game with a win. With a victory, the Tigers also would keep alive hopes for a BCS berth, including the possibility of playing for a national title.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk plays well again. He was very good in his first college start, but Mauk needs to continue improving his accuracy and decision-making like most young QBs. Florida missed several chances at interceptions last week. But if Mauk can put those lessons to use and continue delivering the ball to the Tigers playmakers, the chances to reach 8-0 will be high.
South Carolina gashes Missouris defense with the run. The Gamecocks best chance would seem to be a ball-control style that limits quarterback Dylan Thompsons exposure to Missouris pass rush and the chance for mistakes. Of course, that requires production from the run game. If the Tigers continue to be rock solid against the run and contain Mike Davis, it could be a long afternoon for Steve Spurriers squad.
Three things about South Carolina
1 Quarterback Dylan Thompson is expected to start, but he may not have a very long leash. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said he thinks Connor Shaw, who suffered a knee sprain in the loss at Tennessee, will suit up, opening the possibility he plays if Thompson struggles.
2 Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who many expect with the No. 1 overall pick if he declares for the 2014 NFL Draft, hasnt been otherworldy dominant this season, but he does have two sacks, 5 1/2 tackles for a loss and six quarterback hurries. Clowney can still change a game with a single play.
3 Sophomore tailback Mike Davis has topped 100 yards rushing in six of the Gamecocks seven games. He has totaled 879 yards and 10 touchdowns on 132 carries this season and might be the focal point for the offense in an effort to ease Thompson into the starting role.
Missouris offensive line vs. South Carolinas defensive line: Missouri ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in rushing and third in passing, but South Carolina boasts the conferences third-best pass defense, allowing fewer than 200 yards per game. The Gamecocks have been vulnerable against the run, but only when opponents can get to the second level. That puts a premium on run blocking for the Tigers.
MISSOURI (7-0, 3-0 SEC)
|Aug. 31||Murray State||W, 58-14|
|Sept. 7||Toledo||W, 38-23|
|Sept. 21||at Indiana||W, 45-28|
|Sept. 28||Arkansas State||W, 41-19|
|Oct. 5||at Vanderbilt||W, 51-28|
|Oct. 12||at Georgia||W, 41-26|
|Oct. 19||Florida||W, 36-17|
|Saturday||South Carolina||6 p.m.|
|Nov. 2||Tennessee||5 or 6 p.m.|
|Nov. 9||at Kentucky||TBA|
|Nov. 23||at Mississippi||TBA|
|Nov. 30||Texas A&M||TBA|
SOUTH CAROLINA (5-2, 3-2 SEC)
|Aug. 29||North Carolina||W, 27-10|
|Sept. 7||at Georgia||L, 41-30|
|Sept. 14||Vanderbilt||W, 35-25|
|Sept. 28||at Central Florida||W, 28-25|
|Oct. 5||Kentucky||W, 35-28|
|Oct. 12||at Arkansas||W, 52-7|
|Oct. 19||at Tennessee||L, 23-21|
|Saturday||at Missouri||6 p.m.|
|Nov. 2||Mississippi State||11:21 a.m.|
|Nov. 23||Coastal Carolina||TBA|
SOUTH CAROLINA OFFENSE
SOUTH CAROLINA DEFENSE
Tod Palmers pick: Missouri 33-21
The Tigers are so balanced on offense and the Gamecocks struggle so much against the run, that Missouri seems likely to continue putting points on the board. Meanwhile, with the defense continuing to punish opposing quarterbacks and South Carolina expected to start its backup, the Tigers are the pick.
Tod Palmer, email@example.com