Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gamecocks v Vols Preview/Prediction

The Gamecocks are heading to "Rocky Top" for a great SEC clash vs Tennessee and this game has lots riding on it from bowl implications, to SEC position and Spurrier v Kiffin.  So much you could talk about with respect to this match-up (like Monte's D v Spurrier's O) but what is most important from my gamecock perspective is escaping Knoxville with a win no matter how ugly it may be.

This game is to take place on Halloween and on that day UT is 1-1 v USC.  USC is trying to do something they have never done and that is win consecutive games versus the Vols.  Last year, the gamecocks won 27-6, can it be done again?

UT (3-4, 1-3) needs a win on Saturday as this season has been a struggle from the start.  Kiffin has shown glimers of hope for the UT faithful but the crowd grows hungry for wins like they were use to under Fulmer.  Spurrier also wants to win and keep this good season going as they should have beat UGa and had a chance vs 'Bama.  The Garcia lead offense needs to bring their 'A' game while the defense needs to play at their usual high level.

So what to watch for as this is a preview right...

USC Defense v UT Offense --- UT will do their darnest to establish the run.  They got a great back in RB Montario Hardesty, who ranks 4th in the SEC in rushing yards per game with 102.9 yards.  QB Jonthan Crompton has 14 TD passes with 10 INT.  He has thrown for 1,475 yds, 57.7% completion and averages 210.71 yds per game.  His outlets are Gerald Jones 22 catches for 281 yds, 3 TD; Denarius Moore 16 catches for 241 yds, 2 TD;  and Quintin Hancock with 17 catches for 194yds with 1 TD.  But again look for UT to try their best to run - run - and run.  The gamecocks D must stop the run, stop the run up the middle.  The gamecocks rank 14th in the nation in total D and 3rd in passing D.  I ensure you UT saw tape of the Bama game and will try to run up the middle.  Thank god Cliff Matthews is okay after getting the stinger as he is a key up front.  The D needs to force UT to throw the ball and get a TO or two.  I hope the gamecocks get pressure and push from the defensive line.  Overall, I suspect the D will rise up to the challenge as they play great on ESPN.

UT Defense v USC Offense --- UT allows about 18.4 pts per game.  They allow 269.71 yds (155.86 passing, 113.85 rushing) per game and have forced 15 (6 fumbles, 9 interceptions) TOs.  This D is just as good as the Bama D, they rank 10th nationally in total defense so it will be a great test for Spurrier to find the holes.  The key on the offensive side is not turning the ball over.  No stupid stuff!  No penalites and please throw the ball away if pressure is on ya Garcia.  With Moe Brown and Saunders back the passing options for Garcia improve.  Look for Alshon to get some looks but don't force it to him as he will have Mr. Eric Berry watching him.  I repeat Garcia, don't force throws as the UT secondary can hurt ya.  Also key players for UT besides Berry are Rico McCoy and Dan Williams.

Tennessee may lead this series 21-4-2 but over the last four years this has gone back and forth.  I feel this will end in '09 and USC will escape UT with its' first consecutive win.  I feel the SC D will do its job, look for Norwood to invoke his name in the national college football talk again with a great play; look for Garcia to manage this game well and SC running backs Miles and Giles to have great games as the running attack for SC will have to step up.  This game will be another close one as normal and a low scoring affair....I feel Spurrier earns this win with timely offense in the second half and great defense when needed, which is normal this year. 
Final Score 17-13 USC.


Moose said...

tennessee scares me, there fans have made up there minds that they are just as good as Alabama after last weeks game. I even heard one fan say it would be a miracle if Carolina ever got close to the red zone. I am not sure what they are smoking in Knoxville, but I would like to sample some. This is a team that gave up over 300 passing yards to Ohio university. Not to take anything away from the bobcats, but I think Carolina offense might be a little better then that. I agree is it going to come down to the ability of the Carolina Defense to put pressure on Crompton and stop the UT running game. As we all know Crompton is prone to throw some interceptions.

I am going to say Carolina 21 Tennessee 13.

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