SEC Game of the Week: Mizzou at South Carolina

The Missouri Tigers are coming off a stunning, gut-punch of a loss to an unranked Indiana squad at home and head coach Gary Pinkel was not shy about admitting the feeling surrounding his team after last Saturday’s game.

“Our guys are really suffering right now, and that’s OK,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “This isn’t the fun part of this business.”

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One week later and Mizzou will be looking to put the Indiana game far behind them as they travels to Columbia, South Carolina in search of redemption; not just for last Saturday’s shocking defeat, but for losses to the Gamecocks the previous two seasons. The Tigers still have a tremendous opportunity in front of them, and the dream of successfully defending their 2013 SEC East crown is still attainable. That’s not to say that there aren’t several red flags already being raised about this team, clearly, this team is flawed. The Missouri offensive line looked like they were on roller skates for a large portion of the Indiana game and there appears to be little depth at the receiver position which could limit quarterback Maty Mauk’s effectiveness for the rest of the season.

dylan-thompson-ncaa-football-coastal-carolina-south-carolina1South Carolina appears to be a tough egg to crack so far this season as well. They opened with a home beat-down at the hands of Texas A&M and have struggled to beat East Carolina and Vanderbilt. Obviously, the Gamecocks are still sitting pretty in the SEC East after upsetting the Georgia Bulldogs at home to (temporarily) take control of the division. Quarterback Dylan Thompson has effective this season and has thrown for over 1,100 yards and 11 TD’s so far this season, which is just what head coach Steve Spurrier was looking for in his QB this season. Running back Mike Davis, who is a tremendously skilled back, has been a little banged up so far this season and has split time with Brandon Wilds although both backs have gone over 200 yards through four games. The strength of this Gamecock team is clearly its’  offensive line, which feature several veterans.

Why South Carolina Wins

  • The Spurrier factor. The old ball coach has seemingly had Mizzou’s number for the past two seasons and always seems to rise to the occasion in big-game situations.
  • Home field. The Gamecocks have only one loss at Williams-Brice Stadium dating back to October of 2011. It is very difficult for any team to win in that stadium.
  • Offensive line play. South Carolina boasts one of the finest offensive lines in college football this season which could negate Missouri’s dangerous pass rush.

Why Missouri Wins

  • Markus Golden’s return. The Missouri defense certainly did not look the same last week without Golden in the lineup. It appears he will be healthy enough to give it a go tonight.
  • The Maty “mayday” factor. Quarterback Maty Mauk has made a lot of big plays so far this season and is likely a better QB than Dylan Thompson. If Mauk is able to hit on a few big plays (South Carolina’s pass defense is putrid), Mizzou will be able to stay in the game.
  • Road warriors. The Tigers have not lost a road game since a November 2012 defeat in Gainesville, FL. They easily passed their first road test this season, beating Toledo 49-24.

 

Prediction

South Carolina 27 Missouri 23

  • Markus Golden’s return. Missouri’s defense certainly did not lo

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