Missouri-South Carolina football preview

10/24/2013 10:22 PM

10/24/2013 10:22 PM

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

What’s at stake

A stranglehold on the Southeast Conference’s 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.

Cheers if

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.

Jeers if

South Carolina gashes Missouri’s defense with the run. The Gamecocks’ best chance would seem to be a ball-control style that limits quarterback Dylan Thompson’s exposure to Missouri’s 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 Spurrier’s 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, hasn’t 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.

Key matchup

Missouri’s offensive line vs. South Carolina’s defensive line:

Missouri ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in rushing and third in passing, but South Carolina boasts the conference’s 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)
Date Opponent Result/time
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 TBA

SOUTH CAROLINA (5-2, 3-2 SEC)
Date Opponent Result/time
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. 16 Florida TBA
Nov. 23 Coastal Carolina TBA
Nov. 30 Clemson TBA

MISSOURI OFFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR 15 Dorial Green-Beckham 6-6 225 So.
WR 2 L’Damian Washington 6-4 205 Sr.
LT 68 Justin Britt 6-6 315 Sr.
LG 61 Max Copeland 6-3 300 Sr.
C 77 Evan Boehm 6-3 315 So.
RG 60 Connor McGovern 6-4 310 So.
RT 65 Mitch Morse 6-6 305 Jr.
TE 81 Eric Waters 6-5 245 Sr.
WR 85 Marcus Lucas 6-5 220 Sr.
QB 7 Maty Mauk 6-0 200 Fr.
TB 20 Henry Josey 5-10 190 Jr.
K 99 Andrew Baggett 6-1 215 So.

MISSOURI DEFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE 52 Michael Sam 6-2 255 Sr.
DT 89 Matt Hoch 6-5 295 Jr.
NG 96 Lucas Vincent 6-2 305 Jr.
DE 47 Kony Ealy 6-5 275 Jr.
LB 10 Kentrell Brothers 6-1 240 So.
LB 48 Andrew Wilson 6-3 240 Sr.
LB 8 Donovan Bonner 6-1 245 Sr.
CB 31 E.J. Gaines 5-11 195 Sr.
FS 17 Matt White 6-0 195 Sr.
SS 9 Braylon Webb 6-0 205 Jr.
CB 7 Randy Ponder 5-10 195 Sr.
P 92 Christian Brinser 6-2 200 Jr.

SOUTH CAROLINA OFFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR 1 Damiere Byrd 5-9 166 Jr.
WR 23 Bruce Ellington 5-9 196 Jr.
WR 3 Nick Jones 5-7 174 Jr.
LT 53 Corey Robinson 6-8 341 Jr.
LG 50 A.J. Cann 6-4 314 Jr.
C 51 Cody Waldrop 6-2 319 Fr.
RG 67 Ronald Patrick 6-2 315 Sr.
RT 71 Brandon Shell 6-6 323 So.
TE 81 Rory Anderson 6-5 242 Jr.
QB 17 Dylan Thompson 6-3 218 Jr.
RB 28 Mike Davis 5-9 215 So.
K 29 Elliott Fry 6-0 150 Fr.

SOUTH CAROLINA DEFENSE
P No. Player Ht. Wt. Yr.
DE 90 Chaz Sutton 6-5 263 Sr.
DT 97 J.T. Surratt 6-2 307 Jr.
DT 99 Kelcy Quarles 6-4 298 Jr.
DE 7 Jadeveon Clowney 6-6 274 Jr.
LB 11 T.J. Holloman 6-2 228 Fr.
LB 21 Marcquis Roberts 6-1 225 So.
LB 9 Sharrod Golightly 5-10 195 Jr.
CB 27 Victor Hampton 5-10 202 Jr.
FS 17 Chaz Elder 6-2 199 Fr.
SS 12 Brison Williams 5-11 218 Jr.
CB 15 Jimmy Legree 6-0 187 Sr.
P 13 Tyler Hull 6-2 206 Jr.
Tod Palmer’s 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, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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