Josh Kendall

Time will be ticking on Gamecocks offense against Wofford

So, what’s the big deal about South Carolina’s Saturday game against Wofford?

Every single Gamecocks’ possession, that’s what. South Carolina (7-3) takes on the Terriers (9-1) at 4 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium, and every time the Gamecocks have the ball, the pressure will be on.

“They make it really hard to get a lot of possessions, so we have to be efficient on offense and take advantage of the drives we have,” South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley said. “Just got to execute and take advantage when we have the ball.”

Wofford’s option offense not only is effective at moving the football, it’s also very effective at holding the football. Gamecocks wide receiver Bryan Edwards said his team will go into the game thinking it might get only “six or seven” offensive possessions.

South Carolina got 10 chances against The Citadel’s option offense in 2015, and the Gamecocks lost that game 23-22.

“You are going to have to move the ball and score points when you have it,” Bentley said.

That hasn’t always been a strength for the Gamecocks, who are 11th in the SEC in scoring offense (24.8 ppg) and 11th in third down conversions (38.9 percent).

“I think it’s just about maintaining drives,” Hayden Hurst said. “We are putting plays together, and then all of a sudden there’s something weird, a turnover or something like that. If we can just maintain consistency and have that confidence, I think we will be OK.”

South Carolina has to balance a sense of urgency with a calm approach, Bentley said. If the team focuses too much on its need to make the most of every play, it could end up backfiring, he said.

“Their defense has talent. If we don’t come out and play, they can definitely play with us. We just have to execute is the big thing,” Edwards said. “It’s extremely important to be efficient, not just in this game but in every game, but especially with this game, we know we’re only going to get six or seven opportunities with the ball and we just have to score points.”

The Terriers, who lead the Southern Conference in total defense (308.5 ypg allowed), play mostly a three-man front, a style similar to what the Gamecocks faced against Arkansas this year.

“It’s a crazy scheme of things,” South Carolina offensive lineman Donell Stanley said, “so you have to have the right focus on it.”