David Cloninger

Bulldogs tougher, but why mess with a winning streak?

South Carolina's Sean Kelly, Elliott Fry and Hayden Hurst watch Fry's game-winning field goal against Vanderbilt.
South Carolina's Sean Kelly, Elliott Fry and Hayden Hurst watch Fry's game-winning field goal against Vanderbilt. dmclemore@thestate.com

I went with the only known commodity South Carolina had last week and it paid off. Elliott Fry made me look wise when he blasted a last-minute kick for a three-point Gamecocks win.

So how about this week?

I don’t believe for a second the line of, “Mississippi State lost to South Alabama, so USC should surely whip the Bulldogs.” The Gamecocks squeaked past Vanderbilt, and a large part of it was the Commodores sitting a quarterback who’d given them a 10-0 lead. Dan Mullen had the sense to keep the hot hand under center last week, although his defense let him down.

The Gamecocks played very sound defense against Vanderbilt, but they knew they could camp in the box most of the game. MSU won’t offer that luxury. Then again, if USC cuts out the silly errors it had in last week’s first half, it could roll up some points and its defense will at least be fresher.

On the road. An unholy amount of noise. (We all appreciate the cowbell when it’s used in rock ’n’ roll, but three hours of it during a football game will give you the shivering fits). USC is still very much unknown, but so is MSU.

Why mess with a winning streak? From last week:

“All I can say is that (Mississippi State) has the pressure on it, while USC has the surprise element.

“And a great kicker.”

SOUTH CAROLINA 20, MISSISSIPPI STATE 17

The State's Josh Kendall and David Cloninger preview and predict the Gamecocks' game against Mississippi State, set for 7 p.m. Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

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