David Cloninger

Cloninger’s pick: Let The Citadel have yards, not points

South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth
South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth gmelendez@thestate.com

It’s foolish to think South Carolina’s defense is going to fully stop The Citadel.

One, previous defenses have had problems with this gimmick running attack before (and those were good defenses). Two, at no point this year have the Gamecocks put together four consistent quarters of defensive football.

The Citadel’s going to get its yards. There’s no stopping that. But yards aren’t points. Keep them out of the end zone just a couple of times and hope Perry Orth has done his homework.

Nobody at The Citadel – much like most players in the country – can cover Pharoh Cooper. As long as Brandon Shell and Mike Matulis can hold off the Bulldogs’ pass-rushers for a split second, Orth can get the ball to Cooper and watch the man go to work. It may be his last real chance to show off his magnificent talent, a sort of apology from USC to a player who’s had to spend two years of his career on a sorry representation of what the program was when he was a freshman.

This game needs to be opening the playbook for next week. See what Lorenzo Nunez and Cooper can do under center, since those guys next week have had problems with a shifting offense. The season has come down to winning the last game.

USC could lose and still have a puncher’s chance next week. The Gamecocks won’t lose, although it will be close.