Saturday, September 29, 2007

SC Keys to a win vs. MSU...

It's Homecoming as the South Carolina Gamecocks (3-1, 1-1 SEC) host the Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC) in an SEC match-up on Saturday, Sept. 29. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250) in Columbia. The Gamecocks are ranked 16th in the latest Associated Press poll and 21st in this week's USA Today/Coaches' poll.

So Chris Smelley, the 6-foot-2 216-pound Tuscaloosa, Ala., native, has been given the keys to the Univ of South Carolina Offense. Smelley hit 12 of 26 for a career-high 174 yards and one touchdown along with an interception against LSU....which is not bad but not stellar. All Carolina Fans will admit that there is work to be done on the Offense side of the ball. Thank God for the Defense unit because that has kept SC from really being a bottom dweller in the SEC. MSU is 3-1 and should pose a tough test early but by the end of the day the Carolina Defense and a new and I hope improved offense will prevail.

South Carolina has won four straight in the series with Mississippi State to even the all-time set at six wins apiece. The teams have split six games evenly in both Columbia and Starkville.

So what are the keys for a win against MSU to the game?

1. First the passing game has to Shine -- Time to finally do something on offense with the passing game. Play pitch and catch, get the TE's involved so it can open up the run game. Spurrier needs to give Smelley the green light to throw a deep ball more than once..this will keep MSU honest. SC has the speed so let's use it. It is important for Smelley to connect against MSU b/c they will be looking to shut down the run game and force Carolina to beat them in the air.

2. Defense must play "lights out" -- they Carolina D ranks second in the nation in passing yards allowed per game. This after playing two road games against ranked teams: No. 12 Georgia and No. 2 LSU. Opponents have thrown for an average of 103.5 yards per game and have one passing touchdown. The D needs to force a TO and don't give up on 3rd downs. Yes, Pepper and Brinkley are out but I feel the D can still be a force and stop has too in order for USC to win.

3. USC rushing game must get big yards ---USC has two rushing plays of more than 20 yards this season and six passing plays of more than 25 yards. Boyd and Davis, it is time to break one for a long TD run. As seen all year our offense depends on the running game is this is a key against MSU who has a good D line.

4. WR Play --- The Carolina WR play is crucial this game from having to catch the ball to blocking so that Spurrier and the team can win. We need some players (anyone) to step up this game.

5. Special Teams and Succop must continue to be stellar --- USC must win the field position battle, make FGs and punt the ball well. Go for a block kick and I am still waiting for USC to run one back on a PR or KR...maybe this game.....we need big plays.

Prediction -- USC 24 MSU 10

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