USC Gamecocks Football

Scouting South Carolina’s next opponent: Missouri

South Carolina (1-2, 0-1 SEC) at Missouri (2-1, 0-0)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium

TV: SEC Network Alternate

Line: Missouri by 10

Three storylines

1. The Mayor’s Cup hasn’t been short on memorable games in recent years. Last season it produced a wild, weather-delayed 37-35 South Carolina win as Michael Scarnecchia starred in his lone start in a Gamecock uniform. This year, it’s about Ryan Hilinski’s first road start in garnet and black. The freshman continued to impress against Alabama. Now, he takes a bunch of “hungry, desperate” Gamecocks to Mizzou in an effort to avoid going 0-2 in the SEC for the first time since 2015.

2. A familiar face in a new uniform greets the Gamecocks in Kelly Bryant. The former Clemson quarterback won his only start against South Carolina in 2017, passing for 272 yards and two scores as the Tigers rolled, 34-10, at Williams-Brice Stadium. The graduate transfer has thrown for 798 yards with six touchdowns in three starts with Mizzou.

3. After the Hilinski-led effort in the Crimson Tide loss, South Carolina is up to 25th nationally in total offense. The trip to Missouri pits the Gamecocks against the nation’s fourth-ranked defense. Since allowing 37 points in a shocking loss to Wyoming in Week 1, the Tigers have allowed all of seven in wins over West Virginia and Southeast Missouri State.

Three Missouri players to watch

1. Kelly Bryant ranks only behind only LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the SEC passing race. A threat with his legs at Clemson, Bryant has carried 24 times for just 26 yards — with a long of 12 — and no scores with Missouri.

2. Six different Tigers have made at least six catches this season, but Bryant’s most accomplished target remains Albert Okwuegbunam. The junior tight end — and Mackey Award candidate — has three touchdowns over Mizzou’s last two games.

3. Linebacker Nick Bolton was recognized as the SEC’s defensive player of the week on Sept. 9 after his 10-tackle, two-interception (including a pick-six) performance in the 38-7 West Virginia win. The sophomore ranks first in the SEC in INTs and sixth in tackles.

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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