Gamecocks take a stand: Coach Muschamp recaps highs, lows of win over Vols
South Carolina (4-3, 3-3 SEC) at Ole Miss (5-3, 1-3)
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
TV: SEC Network
1. South Carolina hasn’t strung together consecutive wins all season. Breaking that streak this week would be help USC quest to finish above .500 as the Gamecocks still have tough tests with Florida and Clemson ahead. Ole Miss represents a winnable opportunity. Though the Rebels have five victories, only one has come against a team with a winning record (Texas Tech).
2. Can the Gamecocks win a shootout? The Rebels, in their first full season under Coach Matt Luke, have gone over 36 points five times this season. USC’s hit that mark three times. Carolina’s defense will be tasked in this game to try to stop a Rebels offense that’s topped 500 yards five times in eight contests. On the flip side, Jake Bentley and the USC offense faces a Ole Miss defense that’s allowing an SEC-worst 34.6 points per game.
3. This is the first USC-Ole Miss matchup since 2009, and the Gamecocks’ first visit to Oxford since ‘08. The Rebels lead the all-time series, 8-7. After a five-game skid from 1981-2004, Carolina’s taken the last two against Ole Miss. Under Will Muschamp, the Gamecocks are 1-4 against SEC West Division foes, including a 0-2 mark on the road.
Three Ole Miss players to watch
1. Aside from Missouri, no team in the SEC goes to the air as much as the Rebels. Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu leads the league in passing yards per game (327.8). Take away an ugly performance against in a 62-7 loss to Alabama on Sept. 15 and Ta’amu, Shea Patterson’s replacement, has produced the following numbers this season: 15 touchdowns, three interceptions, 2,489 yards, 67.5 completion percentage.
2. Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown entered last weekend as the SEC’s leader in receiving yards (805) and catches (60). The 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior is considered one of the top receiver prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft.
3. It’s been a tough season for the Ole Miss defense, but a bright spot comes in end Markel Winters. The senior is seventh in the SEC with four sacks.