David Cloninger

On a roll, Gamecocks offense needs to come out firing

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley
South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley dmclemore@thestate.com

South Carolina’s offense has flourished under Jake Bentley, Rico Dowdle and healthy wide receivers contributing to a team that has scored a touchdown within the first five minutes of the last two games. Missouri is reeling, having lost four straight and giving up an average of 42 points in each game. The Gamecocks need to come out firing, and keep firing – while the offense has improved, it has also tried to sit on leads in the past two games.

That can’t happen Saturday.

USC should win this game. Easily. Missouri is not a good football team and while the Gamecocks aren’t great, they’re on a roll and are at home. There can be no letdowns like against Kentucky and Mississippi State.

The crowd should be good (although not starting at night may hinder some from coming) and the situation is enormous. USC is back in contention for a bowl game, and while Missouri is hanging by a fingernail to get to a bowl, it’s still in contention – with no room for error.

Missouri needs this game, too. And it has won two straight against the Gamecocks, the last at Williams-Brice was a fourth-quarter meltdown that started USC’s malaise. USC is feeling good about its season but these kind of toe-stubbings have happened before.

They can’t Saturday.

I don’t think they will.