Josh Kendall

A deeper dive into numbers suggests South Carolina can stop Ole Miss

Gamecocks practice to compete well with high tempo team like Ole Miss

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks take on Ole Miss at noon in Alabama.
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The University of South Carolina Gamecocks take on Ole Miss at noon in Alabama.

Ole Miss’ high-scoring offense is going to be nearly impossible for South Carolina to stop, right? Let’s take a closer look at that.

The Rebels are third in the SEC in scoring and 21st in the nation in scoring offense with 38.4 points per game, but that’s in all games. Ole Miss scored 47 points against Texas Tech, 76 against Southern Illinois, 38 against Kent State and 70 against Louisiana Monroe.

In conference games only, the Rebels are 12th in the SEC and 116th in the nation in scoring offense with 19 points per game. South Carolina has outscored Ole Miss in conference games, averaging 25.2 points in the league, which ranks fifth.

It’s worth noting here that the Rebels’ conference opponents have been Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and Auburn, so some pretty good defenses. Ole Miss still racks up a ton of yards in SEC games (ranking third with 408.5 per game), it just hasn’t done a good job of turning those into points.

All that being said, the Rebels offense still scares South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp.

“They play extremely fast,” Muschamp said. “I think they run the ball extremely well. They’ve got RPOs off every run-action that they have, so you’ve really got to do a good job with your eyes and train your eyes to be in the right spots.”

Ole Miss has two things that have hurt South Carolina in the past, a quarterback who can make plays with his legs in Jordan Ta’amu, and a group of pass catchers that has to be salivating while watching film of the Gamecocks secondary.

The difference in Saturday’s game won’t be on that side of the ball, though. The outcome will be determined when South Carolina has the ball. The Rebels defense is bad, ranking last in the SEC in points allowed (34.6) and yards allowed (497.8). Every conference opponent has scored more than 30 points against Ole Miss.

If South Carolina can score more than 30 points, it’s likely to come away from its first trip to Oxford, Miss., in 10 years with a victory. The problem with that equation is the Gamecocks have only scored more than 30 points once since Sept. 22, and they have only done it twice overall in conference play.

South Carolina has been slow coming out of the gate, inconsistent in its rushing offense and not consistently explosive in its passing offense. Unless it addresses those issues, a conference win the road will be a tough task.

Ole Miss 24, South Carolina 21

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