Who: South Carolina (7-3) vs. Wofford (9-1)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250), Columbia, SC
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TV: SEC Network Alternate
Radio: 107.5 FM in the Columbia area
Three story lines
1. Race for eight: South Carolina could pick up its eighth win of the season. That would be the most since 2013. It would be the high end of what some projected to start the season. Considering the attrition of top playmakers and losses to Texas A&M and Kentucky, that’s a big step.
2. Not this again: South Carolina has lost to an FCS team as recently as two seasons ago. That was a Citadel team that ran an option offense not dissimilar to Wofford’s. That was a low point for the program and hammered in the final nail to Shawn Elliott’s hopes of contending for the head coaching job.
3. Too many options: A lot of coaches don’t like scheduling option offenses because they’re so different to defend in the flow of the season. Even with the notable talent advantage, USC will still face an annoying opponent that can cause problems.
Three players to watch
1. Quarterback Brandon Goodson is the key guy simply because an option-heavy offense runs primarily though his decisions. He’s thrown for 936 and run for 234, and ranks only fourth on the team in carries, an outlier for option passers.
2. Fullback Andre Stoddard is the hammer at the heart of things, and takes the majority of the rushing load. His 142 carries for 710 yards helps open things outside for two wings averaging 6.7-plus yards a carry.
3. Defensive back George Gbesee has been a highly disruptive presence at corner for the Terriers. He’s got 33 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups after breaking up 11 last season.
▪ Talent gap notwithstanding, the running scheme the Terriers deploy is flat-out mean to defensive coaches. They’ll go flexbone, two-back shotgun, one-back shotgun, and even some diamond looks. They can run triple option from them all, plus some standard flexbone runs, a little power and some counter. It’s a lot.
▪ Because of the amount of shotgun, the passing game seems a little more robust than the average option team, but not a ton more. It’s still a team completing less than 52.4 percent of its passes and averaging 17.45 yards per completion.
▪ Goodson is impressive running the show. The fact the running game doesn’t rely on him too much is interesting, though the large set of backs makes that less necessary.
▪ Stoddard is a little more dynamic than your average hammer fullback, but his lower yards per carry and long of only 31 point to a player who does much of his work ensuring the defense is leaning inside. Blake Morgan and Lennox McAfee are impressive edge guys, and Morgan can make folks pay in the passing game.
▪ The defense is primarily a 3-4 with some nice versatility. It can go wide to match spreads, or stack the box when asked to.
▪ Granted it’s against FCS competition, but Wofford’s defense has been stingy, allowing 3.3 yards a carry and 6.26 yards per pass attempt.