On Saturday, the South Carolina Gamecocks will face their toughest opponent of the young college football season.
The Missouri Tigers, with their Big 12 style of offense, and SEC caliber run defense, won’t roll over and let SC win easily.
Mizzou has talent on both sides of the ball, and the following matchups could decide who wins the game Saturday.
James Franklin vs The SC Pass Rush
Missouri’s offensive line is a patchwork group right now. The question isn’t “will SC get to Franklin at QB?”, but “how many times will it happen?”
Georgia could only sack Franklin twice in their week-two matchup, and with D.J. Swearinger out for this one, it’s imperative for Jadeveon Clowney and Co. to get after the QB and force him to make quick decisions all night.
Marcus Lattimore vs Missouri’s Run Defense
The Tiger defense is giving up less than 100 yards per game on the ground, less than three yards per rush and just 1.3 rushing TDs a game.
Lattimore came back to life last weekend, averaging almost eight yards per carry (he would have rushed for 100+ yards if it weren’t for a block in the back call), but he’ll have to play his best game of the season against Mizzou to give SC the best chance to win.
If SC can get it’s run game going, there will be more room downfield for Connor Shaw to throw the ball.
which brings us to our final matchup.
Battle of the QBs, who goes out first?
Shaw will start Saturday with a crack in his shoulder blade. Franklin will start, even though he hasn’t taken pain medicine for an injury suffered prior to last weekend’s matchup with Arizona State.
Not to say one of them necessarily has to get knocked out of the game, but it wouldn’t be surprising if either one did.
Franklin going down hurts Mizzou more than Shaw going out hurts SC, but if either team lost its QB in a tight game, all bets would be off.