Friday, November 06, 2009

Gamecocks v Arkansas Preview/Prediction

The South Carolina Gamecocks (6-3, 3-3 SEC) will make their final road trip of the regular season on Saturday as they travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (4-4, 1-4 SEC).

For the first time in a month, the Gamecocks are not ranked as they suffered a disappointing loss to Tennessee due to turnovers. But they must quickly adjust, and learn from their mistakes as the Razorbacks are coming off a nice win over Eastern Michigan by the score of 63-27.

USC is 7-10 all-time versus Arkansas, and only have won one game out of four attempts in Fayetteville. For the Gamecocks, this game means a lot, and is considered by some a must win. The reason there is a lot on the table for Carolina, is that for two seasons straight there has been late season collapses. In 2009, this can not happen again. Luckily, the sixth win has been achieved, but that is no longer good enough in the eyes of some, and if the "New Carolina" is going to establish itself, then the Arkansas game must be won.

On Offense v Arkansas Defense - The gamecocks must have success both on the ground and in the air.  The line play must be good as Garcia can not be sacked too many times or any at all would be good.  He needs protection this game and the line needs to help create running lanes.  I look for the ground game to be established by Miles, Giles and Maddox.  This leads to Alshon, Gurley, Saunders, Moe and Jason getting open down field.  Arkansas is lead by three people on D:  Wendel Davis 54 (33 solo), Jerry Franklin 47 (30 solo) and Matt Harris 44 (30 solo) so watch for them.

Ark D Stats
Points Allowed Per Game: 27.4
Yardage Allowed Per Game: 410.63 (264.13 passing, 146.50 rushing)
Turnovers Forced: 18 (12 fumbles, 6 interceptions)

Arkansas O vd Gamecocks D - Ark is lead by QB Ryan Mallet – 18 TD, 3 INT, 2,151 yds, 54.4% completion - and he averages 268.8 yds per game with his arm.  The Gamecocks may not be able to stop the run as shown in the UT and 'Bama game, but one thing they can do is play the pass. The Gamecocks are ranked second in pass defense, giving up only 141 yards per game through the air. In nine games this season they have only given up eight touchdowns via the pass. The Gamecocks are allowing 294.7 yards and 19 points per game, which puts them in the top half of the SEC.  Ryan likes to throw to:  Greg Childs 31 for 594, 5 TD, Jarius Wright 24 for 430, 2 TD and Joe Adams 19 for 425, 4 TD.  So the Gamecocks secondary need to know where those 3 are at all times.  Oh and while blanketing those guys please slow running backs Michael Smith (56 for 360, 2 TD) and Broderick Green (55 for 255, 6 TD).

Ark O stats
Points Per Game: 35.9
Yardage Per Game: 438 (295.8 passing, 142.2 rushing)
Turnovers: 10 (5 fumbles, 5 interceptions)

This game boils down to the gamecocks defense forcing TOs  by collecting some INTs and the Garcia lead offense having success mixing it up.  I feel confident that this game will play out to Spurrier's liken' after a key second half adjustment by Ellis.  I can see this game being won by Carolina 31-23.

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