When: Noon Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium
TV: SEC Network
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Three Story Lines
1. Weathering the gauntlet: Life as an NCAA independent isn’t an easy one, and UMass has not had an easy time. The Minutemen are 1-6 with losses to two SEC teams, an ACC team and two solid mid-majors. After this, they’ll still have BYU and a good Troy squad in November.
2. A little relief?: The Gamecocks have lost three in a row, all against SEC teams and the last two against pretty solid outfits. UMass isn’t a strong team and it doesn’t have near the offensive firepower of those three squads.
3. Offense? Offense?: The Gamecocks’ offense is in the conversation for worst offense in all of the Power 5. The Minutemen defense is far ahead of its offense, but it’s one of the worst units USC will face in this stretch.
Three Players to Watch
1. Wide receiver Andy Isabella: The Minutemen have bounced between a pair of passers, Ross Comis and Andrew Ford, but Isabella has been a bell cow in the passing game. He’s got 427 yards on 33 catches and came into Saturday’s loss to Louisiana Tech being targeted on nearly one-fourth of UMass passes.
2. Running back Marquis Young: No one else on the team is within 100 non-sack carries of the sophomore back. His 563 yards accounts for 60 percent of his team’s output on the ground, and he’s been solidly explosive.
3. Outside linebacker Da’Sean Downey: The Minutemen are not shy about sending pressure, and Downey leads the team in that department. He has four sacks, 6 1/2 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
▪ The UMass offense is relatively multiple, going from the I-formation to the shotgun to the pistol.
▪ The Minutemen tend to run more than average in passing situations and pass more than average in running situations.
▪ Both quarterbacks Comis and Ford can move a bit, but they take a lot of sacks. Ford has been more efficient in UMass’ West Coast offense.
▪ Isabella and tight end Adam Breneman carry most of the passing offense. Young can show some pop and moves well with the ball.
▪ Their defense has a three-down base, but they can go four-down. The unit looks like a 3-4, but James Allen is a nickel corner who can play the part of a linebacker.
▪ That defense deploys a wide range of blitz looks, and its linebackers can create some havoc in in terms of big plays.