David Cloninger

October 11, 2013

Cloninger's five gameday storylines: USC vs. Arkansas

David Cloninger takes a final look at five storylines for Saturday's game, including the running game, the idea of USC defensive personnel changes and, of course, Jadeveon Clowney.

David Cloninger

All things Gamecocks, especially basketball and football

1. JD

Jadeveon Clowney should be able to play against Arkansas, but it’s a game in which he’s unlikely to make an impact. Having a speedy pass-rusher is terrific, but against a team that lives on running the ball, it’s negated. If Arkansas does try to run to Clowney’s side, he can shed his first blocker and then perhaps the tight end/fullback who might be trying to clear space. But as for a sack, chances might be limited.

2. RUNNING TEAMS

Mike Davis and Connor Shaw. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Each team knows what side of the bread the butter is on, and will try to spread it as much as possible. The Gamecocks seem to have an advantage in that they have a better passing game, and their quarterback can also run, while the Razorbacks are a straight-ahead, running back-oriented team.

3. QUICK STRIKE

USC has done well with a quick-strike offense this season, scoring a touchdown in three games before the first-quarter clock hit 10:49. Shaw has thrown all three of those, with two of them a long pass to a receiver in one-on-one coverage. If he can do that again, it can force Arkansas to play catch-up.

4. STAND UP

USC has promised defensive personnel changes this week, and they might not be known until kickoff. The main thing is finding players who are able to make a stop in the fourth quarter. Because the Razorbacks don’t pass the ball much, USC’s battered secondary might get a break, but the linebackers will be called upon to slow Collins and Williams.

5. IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD, BUT

USC is 2-8 in the state of Arkansas. As Steve Spurrier has said, the Razorbacks have thoroughly beaten the Gamecocks out there. The chance is there to break that streak, and start a brutal stretch of three straight road games with a win. Arkansas has lost three in a row, and it’s a different breed of Razorback on the other sideline.

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