NCAA Football – Week 4
The Missouri Tigers are finding out very quickly that life in the SEC is extremely tough. Georgia put it on them in their first SEC game, and now the Tigers must travel to eighth ranked South Carolina this weekend. Steve Spurrier’s team will likely be in contention for the SEC East crown this season. Let’s take a look at this interesting SEC matchup for Saturday afternoon.
Missouri got a rude welcome to the SEC two weeks ago by Georgia, but the Tigers deserve credit for bouncing back with a 24-20 win over Arizona State last weekend. That win was even more impressive since the team was without starting quarterback James Franklin in that game. Franklin said early this week that he is “90 percent sure” he will play this weekend against South Carolina. Franklin gives the team a very dangerous dual-threat quarterback when he is healthy. Kendial Lawrence has emerged as the Tigers top running back this year. Lawrence is averaging 6.6 yards per carry this season. Missouri’s offense ranks 79th in the nation in total offense.
Missouri’s defense hasn’t faced an offensive line as strong as the one they’ll see this weekend. In addition, Marcus Lattimore will be the best running back they have seen. The question mark heading into this season for the Tigers defense was the front seven. Now, they’ll get to show whether they are up to the huge challenge in front of them.
Connor Shaw was injured in the Gamecocks season-opening win against Vanderbilt. Shaw sat out last game, but he is expected to play in this one. Spurrier says that Shaw has looked great throwing the football in practice this week. Some thought Dylan Thompson would get the start again this week, but Spurrier announced Tuesday that it would be Shaw under center this weekend. Lattimore looks pretty healthy this year, and when he is healthy he is arguably the best back in the nation. This is a guy who is an absolute workhorse of a running back, and his skill level is amazing. South Carolina is averaging 38 points per game this year.
The Gamecocks defense is extremely tough. Opponents are averaging just 9.7 points per game against this group. D.J. Swearinger will be serving a one-game suspension, so the secondary will be slightly less dominant than normal. Still, the front four at South Carolina is among the best in the country. Taylor and Clowney may be the best defensive end tandem in the country. Expect South Carolina to get into the Missouri backfield early and often in this one.
Free College Football Pick:
Franklin will probably play here, but he won’t be fully healthy. Missouri’s front seven on defense isn’t strong enough to stop Lattimore all game long. I think South Carolina wears down Missouri in this one to cover the spread.
South Carolina 28 Missouri 14