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FIVE REASONS: South Carolina vs. Wofford

As always, visit our Gameday Open Thread.

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1. Confidence. There's a reason that some have urged South Carolina to accept a moral victory out of Saturday's loss to Georgia: It was one. There's no reason the Gamecocks should have been able to get up off the mat and compete with the SEC East favorite, but they did. That could mean the Gamecocks have turned the corner.

2. Ellis Johnson. The Terriers have the kind of option offense that used to give Tyrone Nix's defense fits. There have been few signs early on that Johnson's defense will have the same problem. They held up pretty well against Vanderbilt, which has some option plays; being given a short field was the only way the 'Dores could reliably score.

3. Taking Wofford seriously. The Gamecocks are not taking a win against the Terriers for granted.

But USC coach Steve Spurrier provided a pretty good clue about what he thinks of Wofford this week when he announced tailback Mike Davis and the other players facing one-game suspensions for missing class would sit out next week’s Alabama-Birmingham game. (Defensive end Jordin Lindsey also will miss, btw.) ...

But it seems pretty clear Spurrier’s staff views Wofford as more of a threat than the Blazers, who are ranked last among all 119 I-A teams in total defense.

That's a wise choice. UAB might be a worse team than Wofford.

4. The Wofford defense. The Terriers have allowed 346.0 ypg to FCS teams. That's not horrible when you play in the FCS. But Wofford is playing an FBS team this week; that doesn't bode well, even against the Gamecock offense, which I believe (knock on wood) is better than an FCS offense.

5. Third down. The Terriers are allowing opponents to convert 60 percent of their third downs, while only converting 35 percent themselves. South Carolina is converting only a few more (39 percent) but is doing far better at holding opponents on third down (30 percent).

 

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1. Hubris. It's been popular over the last year to say "Appalachian State Appalachian State Appalachian State," the truth is that Michigan is far from the only FBS team to lose to a member of the FCS. Spurrier and his staff might be taking the Terriers seriously; whether the players are doing so is another question entirely.

2. Rushing offense. The Gamecocks are gaining only 93.7 ypg on the ground, one of the worst numbers in the FBS. Tonight, they face an opponent who only allows 45.5 ypg rushing. The Terriers might not do that well against the Gamecocks, but they should be able to contain South Carolina's ground attack.

3. Turnovers. The Terriers have been solid at protecting the ball, surrendering three fumbles but not yet throwing a single interception. The Gamecocks have, well, struggled at keeping the ball in the right team's hands, throwing seven picks and fumbling away two more possessions. The best way to keep a less-talented opponent in the game is to give them the football. The only way for that less-talented team to pull an upset is to not give it up.

4. The option attack. Maybe it simply hasn't plagued the Gamecocks yet. They still have to prove they can stop this option attack in this game. It's not a given.

5. The unexpected. That's how most upsets happen: Something you never think would happen does.

RESULT: Barring the unexpected, the Gamecocks are simply a better team. That should show up on the field. But it will be tougher than most think. South Carolina 24, Wofford 3