The South Carolina Gamecocks return home to the friendly confines of Williams-Brice to take on the Missouri Tigers at noon tomorrow. The Gamecocks will be looking for a bounce-back win after another disappointing loss to Kentucky, while the Tigers are fresh off a bye week. Here’s how the GABA crew sees things playing out.
DEMETRI: There’s a number that I think has to change for a team like South Carolina to beat a team like Mizzou. It’s the Cocks’ turnover ratio of -4. Like any Carolina fan, I am concerned with how much the team is turning the ball over, but I am even more concerned by the turnovers the defense isn’t creating. You need to intercept passes and cause fumbles to beat a team like Missouri.
Drew Locke is averaging 350 yards per game and 3 TDs through the air. Mizzou has scored at least 29 points in every game. That is more than the Gamecocks have averaged scoring for themselves in each outing. You stop that by forcing Locke to make bad throws and forcing first year-OC and human embodiment of the phrase “do you know who my dad is, bro?” Derek Dooley to overthink simple situations. You also have to make up for the offense if Jake Bentley still feels like fartin’ around in the backfield.
I just don’t know that I trust Carolina to do that right now. Does that make me a Negative Nelly? Maybe, but given what we have seen of the Cocks thus far this season, I am just trying to be a Realistic Reggie. Mizzou 38-23.
Cole: I honestly have no idea what Carolina team shows up. I do think being in front of 80,000 in Williams-Brice Stadium will put a little pep in the Gamecocks step. The problem is if they have to much pep in their step, it could be a sloppy and undisciplined game like what we seen last week. Jake Bentley is a game time decision and for the first time in his career he is under tremendous pressure from the fans. To say he hasn’t performed well in big games would be and understatement. Last week the Gamecocks committed too many penalties and had turnover after turnover. For me, like every week this game is about the run game. I think if Rico Dowdle, A.J. Turner, or Tyson Williams can hit the century mark the Gamecocks win. The problem is Drew Lock. He can score on any defense and the Gamecocks haven’t been the ball hawking defense were used to seeing under Muschamp. I think Missouri wins this game. I don’t like it, but Carolina has to show they can knock off the rust and get the offense on track. Mizzou 30-21
Katie: These Gamecocks are really doing their best to mess with my Eternal Sports Optimism, but I will persevere and pick them to beat Missouri this week. That being said, both the offense and the defense are going to need to step it up if USC is going to get back in the win column on Saturday. The biggest question on offense is whether Jake Bentley will be able to play, but it’s not going to matter who’s in at QB if the receivers don’t catch anything. On top of that, it’s really going to be a problem if the Gamecocks have another week where they turn over the ball like it’s going out of style. Speaking of turning over the ball, the defense could do with getting a turnover or six, especially since the offense could use all the help it can get. To end this on a more positive note, though, I remember a certain game against Missouri a few years back in which our starting QB had an injury, things looked bleak during most of the game, and then there was a wild and crazy miracle ending. Could that happen again? It’s probably unlikely, but as our resident Eternal Sports Optimist, I’ll never say never. I’ll get the puppy gifs ready for twitter just in case, though.
Kody: Well, uh, I kind of had to scrap what I was going with initially once the news about Jake Bentley broke. Prior to the announcement he likely wouldn’t start, I thought the Gamecocks would be capable of edging the Tigers at home, though I expected a close and back-and-forth contest. It does help that Missouri isn’t a ranked opponent, so this isn’t a Big Game as far as the media narrative goes — under Muschamp, the Gamecocks have been frankly awful at preparing for those types of opponents, so it makes me feel a little more at ease that this game is flying under the radar. But without Bentley and with only a couple super inexperienced options to turn to, I just don’t know. The Tigers might win this one by a couple of scores, 30-14, if the running game doesn’t get going and the receivers don’t help whoever’s in at QB.