Game preview: How will USC handle unique Wofford challenge?
This is the kind of game South Carolina should win, and the kind where it should be able to flex a little.
But it isn’t clear whether it will look that way.
Wofford’s defense will make opponents work, and it’s been pretty good against FCS opposition. If the Terriers get a few first downs in a drive, or string together a long march or two, the game could get pretty short.
And that could depress the number of plays and yards, even if USC and Jake Bentley get things going on offense with explosive plays and steady drives.
South Carolina should win this one, and it shouldn’t really be in doubt. One of these teams is a good, very solid FCS squad. The other is a 7-3 SEC squad. There’s a talent gap, and even if Wofford runs an offense that’s going to muddle things up, the hosts are almost assuredly better.
That eventually came through in 2012, when an 11-win Gamecocks squad entered the final quarter tied 7-7. USC pulled ahead with a field goal, then benefited from a missed fourth-and-1 and a fumble return touchdown to pull away.
That game had eight true possessions for the Gamecocks.
Because Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks are favorites, it’s hard not to think about what it would take for Wofford to make it a game more than anything else.
The best way to beat an option team goes beyond just assignment football, it’s about beating blocks, being able to play two phases of the option and gumming things up. USC has the pieces up front to do it.
Any option team will likely break one or two more big plays than expected. But South Carolina’s offense should be able to breathe more than in most games. In the end, that should prove too much, as the Gamecocks can roll toward win No. 8.
The Pick: South Carolina 31, Wofford 14