Grr. Give me gumbo. And maybe a corn dog.
Time to take on the LSU Tigers at home in Columbia. My three keys to victory and prediction are below. When he puts it up, check out cocknfire's FIVE REASONS for more preview info. Our friends over at Leftover Hot Dog also have a good preview here. As always, hold forth with your comments during the game.
Go for the Big Play on Offense
Whether it was under the command of Chris Smelley in Oxford or Stephen Garcia in Lexington, Spurrier has let loose on the vertical passing game, and for the most part we've been successful. Garcia is tonight's starter, and Spurrier needs to have Garcia throws the ball down the field early and often. LSU's defense has been susceptible to big passing plays so far this year--they actually managed to make Chris Todd look like a competent QB--so the opportunity for hitting some long throws should be there tonight.
I also wouldn't mind seeing a trick play or two. WR end-arounds and reverses might work well if we can produce isolated match-ups between our running wideout and one of LSU's defensive backs. I also wouldn't be opposed to seeing Kenny McKinley throw a pass or two, or seeing another Wild Hog formation with Bobby Wallace taking the direct snap. Spurrier tried a few of these plays against Kentucky last week, and while they weren't all that effective, this is another week and it would be cool to see Spurrier pay Miles back for that fake FG last year.
Protect Stephen Garcia (and Chris Smelley if he plays)
LSU's secondary is vulnerable and the combination of Garcia throwing the ball, our good group of receivers, and Spurrier calling the plays will lead to the opportunity for big plays. However, LSU will likely try to negate the advantage we have over their secondary by using their potent pass rush to get in Garcia's face and making him make mistakes. Our line needs to keep that from happening. We've been playing well in the pass-blocking game lately, and LSU will likely again be without its star defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois, so we should have some success here.
Contain Charles Scott
I'm not too worried about LSU's passing attack; our guys should be able to handle Jarrett Lee/Andrew Hatch, even if the Tigers do have some talented receivers. On the other hand, while we're not having anywhere near the problems we had last year under Tyrone Nix, our defense is still somewhat susceptible to the run. LSU will test our defensive front by giving the ball to their big TB Charles Scott. If Scott gets moving and racks up around 150 yards, the Tigers might be able to wear out our defense over the course of the game, and that could spell disaster.
A lot of people are picking us to win this game, and I've bought into the hype (not that I'm a hard sell). So I'm going to go fearless here--I say that we're going to play our best game of the season tonight. Stephen Garcia is going to throw for 300+ yards and we're going to score 30+, while LSU is going to struggle to get to 20. Gamecocks 31-17.