Dylan Thompson has been here before. Thrust into the starter’s role by an injury to Connor Shaw, playing one of the most important games of the season in front of a very hostile and motivated in a night game.
Even the kickoff temperature – 48 degrees that night – probably will be the same.
The last time it was the Clemson game. This time, Thompson and South Carolina will take on Missouri in Columbia, Mo. The last time, it worked out well for the Gamecocks, so let’s look at the blueprint for that 27-17 win.
South Carolina ran the ball 45 times and threw it 41 times, controlling the ball for 39 minutes, 58 seconds and thus keeping the ball away from an potent offense much like the one Missouri has this season. It will probably take a similar effort to beat these Tigers.
Here are the three main problems for South Carolina – Missouri has the SEC’s most productive pass rush (something that Clemson team could not come close to boasting), a trio of tall wide receivers going against a secondary that has been a liability (something South Carolina did not have last year) and a running game that relies on three talented runners who love to find cutback lanes, thus increasing the need for discipline among an opponents linebackers (you know how that has gone this season).
(The wildcard for South Carolina is the potential availability of quarterback Connor Shaw. Every time Steve Spurrier updates Shaw’s status, I get a stronger and stronger feeling that Shaw will play at some point against the Tigers.)
The Gamecocks will thrust themselves back into the SEC East race with a win today and will be virtually eliminated with a loss. In the end, too many things are stacked against South Carolina on Saturday. Tigers 28, Gamecocks 21
Around the SEC:
The Sporting News named an “icon” for each SEC football team. Who would you pick for the Gamecocks? It’s gotta be George Rogers, right? Yep, it was, but here’s the link if you’d like to see the rest.
Vanderbilt will go with Patton Robinette at quarterback against Texas A&M and maybe longer as another SEC team has lost its starting quarterback to injury.
And, finally, Mississippi State won an SEC football game on Thursday night. It was against Kentucky, but they’ll still count it in the conference standings, and it’s the Bulldogs first of the season, so they’ll take it.