USC hosts Wofford College Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium. Here are a few things to know about the Terriers.
--Wofford is currently ranked ninth in the Sports Network's FCS Top 25. The Terriers are 8-2, with the two losses coming against sixth-ranked Georgia Southern (UGA's opponent this weekend), and the other coming against Samford, which is ranked 27th, right outside the top 25. The loss to Samford came in double-overtime, and it came with QB Brian Kass getting knocked out of the game in the second quarter. The Terriers struggled offensively without Kass. Kass was limited again last week, although he did play. If he's still limited again this week, it will hurt the Terriers' offense.
--Wofford runs a triple-option offense. Obviously, this poses special challenges for the Gamecocks, who haven't faced this kind of team yet this year. The key to defending the option is to play good "assignment football," which means that the defenders, especially the linebackers and defensive backs, have to cover their lanes and avoid allowing seams to develop. This can be challenging for a defense that is used to playing aggressively and looking for the big shakeup. It can be great when the defensive tackles break through and throw the quarterback off before the play gets started, but it's important for the players on the corners not to give up their assignment and overpursue. Nine times out of ten, the quarterback just pitches that ball out and you give up another 10 yards. The guy doing most of the running for Wofford will be RB Eric Breitenstein (awesome name), who has 1500+ yards on the season.
--This is Wofford's last game of the regular season. The Terriers will receive a nice seed in the FCS Tournament after their regular season concludes. I've heard some wonder aloud whether or not the Terriers will pull their starters early in an effort to avoid injuries prior to taking their best shot at an FCS Championship. While I wouldn't blame him for doing it, I doubt that this will be Mike Ayers's strategy. Ayers is not the kind of coach to mail in a game. His teams play for the win, even against highly ranked FBS opponents, and they often acquit themselves quite respectably. I believe that will be the case again this weekend. Ayers will only pull his starters early if Carolina jumps to a huge lead.