After blowing a lead on the road last week to fall to 3-2, the Gamecocks return home to take on the Razorbacks and we’ve got predictions for how it’ll go.
Thomas: We haven’t played a team yet that plays offense the way that Arkansas does. What I mean by that is their ground and pound attack. They line up under center and run it, and they’re averaging 43 running attempts a game. This could be considered a warm up game for Georgia, since they’re kind of similar on the offensive side of the football. We don’t have the kind of DT’s (except Javon Kinlaw) who consistently demand a double team. I think they’re going to have a pretty good game on the ground, and Austin Allen is going to do what he has to do to win. Our O-line still isn’t healthy, so unless Roper comes alive and Bentley throws for 400 yards and 5 TDs, we most likely aren’t winning. For us to win, we’re going to have to get up early and chew clock so our defensive line won’t have to stay on the field. I don’t see that happening since we’ve lost the TOP battle in every game except Missouri. Final Score: 31-21 Razorbacks.
Chris: For the second week in a row, I have no idea what to think about this game. I don’t believe in transitive property, so wipe away the fact Arkansas lost to Texas A&M in overtime two weeks ago. Here’s what we know about Bert’s crew through five games:
Arkansas has a very efficient offense who scores points by not getting behind the chains and chewing up clock. Their defense is below average but benefits from favorable field position created by their offense sustaining drives.
This creates a horrible matchup for South Carolina’s bend-don’t-break style of defense. For the most part, SC has prevented big plays this season but have allowed opponents to sustain long drives with short four to five yard plays. Arkansas has proven they don’t need big plays to score and will absolutely kill you with a thousand paper cuts.
The one place South Carolina has proven they can be competent on offense is completing the occasional big pass play, which just so happens to be what Arkansas is best at preventing on defense. The Razorbacks are most vulnerable on the ground -- an area South Carolina has yet to prove they can move the ball with any sort of competence outside of some splash plays by Ty’son Williams.
Simply put, Arkansas is a terrible matchup for what South Carolina does on both sides of the ball even though I don’t think the two sides are that far apart in terms of talent. I think Arkansas wins handily 31-21 and will send Gamecock nation into deep panic mode following Saturday night.
Kody: If the football gods have truly forsaken the Gamecocks, David Williams will come out of nowhere to rush for 150 yards and/or score the game-winning touchdown for Arkansas. That aside, I actually feel somewhat good about this game -- “good” being a relative term, because in this case, it just means I’m not experiencing existential dread at the thought of the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ offense can exploit some of South Carolina’s weaknesses, but the Gamecocks also tend to handle pocket passers much better, and Austin Allen is not exactly the most mobile quarterback in college football. I’ll give USC the edge in a low-scoring slog, 21-17. Even if they win, the fans are likely going to have to keep waiting to see some razzle dazzle at Williams-Brice.
Katie: Uh...I guess I’ll stick to what I’ve done for every game this season and predict/hope that the Gamecocks will win because I want them to. A couple people who follow me on twitter and are Razorbacks fans told me they’re convinced Arkansas is going to lose, so I’ll choose to believe them. Apparently Arkansas also has a bad kicking game, per my twitter friends, so let’s pray this one doesn’t come down to that, because a battle of #collegekickers is really not what anyone needs. The only thing I can predict with a decent amount of certainty about this game is I’m going to use a lot of puppy gifs while live-tweeting it.
DC3: You don't want to hear my defeatist opinion, instead, I shall offer my insanely unrealistic opinion: this is the first game that I truly feel is a coin-flip for the Gamecocks. Arkansas plays a style of football that scares the shit out of me (think more crock-pot than flash fryer) but the personnel are on-par with Carolina. Ultimately this game is going to be a whole lot like a clay-court tennis match: whoever breaks serve first loses.
Carolina wins 28 - 20 in overtime. Gamecocks block a field goal to send it to OT.
Kaci: I don’t feel great about this game, but Carolina has done enough to stay in the game against every opponent this season and I don’t think this week will be any different. It’ll be an ugly grind of a game and the Gamecocks will need a couple of breaks (hopefully in the form of turnovers that they get points off of), but I think USC pulls off a 24-20 win.