October 18, 2013
Gamecock Sports: Game Prediction - Gamecocks vs. Tennessee
The Offense is Alive
Week two of the Gamecocks' 3-week road trip is on deck this week, and after last week’s offensive explosion, it may not be a bad thing. The offense looked as solid as it has been in recent memory, and the defense finally played strong, only allowing one touchdown, which occurred on the opening drive of the game. While it must be taken into perspective, as this all came against a struggling Arkansas team, the Gamecocks may have gotten the confidence boost to carry them through the rest of the season. And it definitely didn’t hurt that Georgia lost to Missouri to keep the Gamecocks hope alive in the SEC East.
The Volunteers are coming off a bye week as they are set to face the Gamecocks in an SEC East matchup, that two weeks ago looked like it could be setting Tennessee up for a breakout season. After scoring late in the fourth quarter to take the lead, the Vols could not finish against Georgia and eventually lost in overtime. It was a heartbreaking loss for both Tennessee and South Carolina as it would have kicked open the door for the Gamecocks path to the SEC title game. But instead the Vols look to get their first SEC win of the season and derail any hope that is left for the Gamecocks.
The always present advantage of playing in Neyland Stadium will surely help Tennessee disorient the Gamecocks offense, which often tries to make changes at the line of scrimmage. New head coach Butch Jones is looking to rebuild a team that was once led by greats Phil Fulmer and Peyton Manning, but was subsequently derailed by Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley.
Linebacker AJ Johnson will look to have another big game and slow down the Carolina offense as he did against Georgia two weeks back. Johnson has produced double digit tackles in half of his career games for the Volunteers according to their stat records, which includes 47 tackles so far this season. On the offensive side of the ball Rajion Neal will look to record his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season against the Gamecocks porous defense.
The entire Gamecocks offense put on a show last weekend! It was great to see both Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson playing at the top of their game, to the point that we even got to see Brendan Nosovitch score his first touchdown as a Gamecock on a 7-yard run at the end of the fourth quarter. Another bright spot in last week’s blowout was the emergence of Shamier Jeffery, you may remember his brother, Alshon! Shamier tallied his first reception at Carolina and ended with 5 receptions on the day.
If Carolina can continue to spread the ball around as they did last week and the run game can continue to be a powerful force, the Gamecocks should continue to put a lot of points on the board, even against the increasingly better defenses they are set to face in the coming weeks. Mike Davis gets better each week. While other defenses are preparing for the Mike Davis they see on film, they are forced to play the Mike Davis who is one step better each week. His ability to run through defenders and get the extra yards after contact are giving Spurrier the option for a more balanced attack.
The other side of that balanced attack is Connor Shaw, who has disproven all of the doubters this season, including myself. While he still has moments that make Gamecock fans want to scream, the fumble in the Georgia game, all in all he is playing the way everyone thought he could, which includes very few turnovers this season. But Connor and Mike both owe all the credit to the remarkable offensive line, who has been the greatest surprise all season. They are the most reliable unit on the team so far this season and have allowed the Head Ball Coach to run his ideal offense.
The Gamecocks should take care of business against the Volunteers who have already lost to Oregon, Florida, and Georgia this season and currently sit at 3-3 after winning 3 non-conference games. Despite giving Georgia a big scare two weeks ago, the Vols could not finish the game.
Final Score: South Carolina 35, Tennessee 20
Post written by Gamecock Girl Sports Bloggess, Lauren Rippy.
Posted by Gamecock Girl
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