On Saturday the South Carolina Gamecocks will play their final SEC game of the year, and their opponent is a pesky and familiar foe.
Things haven’t gone well the last few times South Carolina played the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Gamecocks haven’t beat Arkansas since 2008, and the past three games between the two schools haven’t even been close.
So what matchups will decide whether or not SC breaks that streak Saturday?
SC Pass Rush vs Tyler Wilson
Carolina’s defensive line should be able to get pressure on Wilson, and if he can’t handle it well, Arkansas doesn’t stand a chance. If he keeps his composure, stays on his feet and keeps the ball moving throw the air, the Hogs could stay in this game till the end.
This matchup also involves SC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. If for some reason the Gamecocks’ front four can’t get pressure on Wilson, Ward cannot be afraid to send linebackers in there to get after him. Arky is not a good running team, so Ward shouldn’t be spending too much time worrying what would happen if he blitzed a couple linebackers and risked someone leaving Knile Davis open after a hand off.
Arkansas Front Seven vs Carolina’s Rushing Attack
This matchup is just as important to the outcome of Saturday’s game as the first one. Even with Marcus Lattimore out, SC will try to beat its remaining opponents on the ground. Connor Shaw and his legs will go a long way toward making that happen on zone reads, but Kenny Miles and Mike Davis have to be able to get yards on running plays designed for them, too.
If the Razorbacks’ front seven can clog up the running lanes, and Shaw, Miles and Davis can’t get around those blockages, it could be a long day for Gamecock fans.
Jimmy Legree vs Cobi Hamilton
Hamilton has been Arkansas best wide receiver this year, and, in my opinion, Jimmy Legree has been South Carolina’s best corner back.
These two might not be matched up the entire game, but they will battle for significant portions of it. Whoever wins this battle could just win the war for their offense or defense.
Hamilton hasn’t gotten all of his 1077 yards on dink and dump passes, by the way; He doing his damage in large chunks, averaging 15.6 yards per catch on 69 receptions.
Legree will have to limit those long catches to keep his defensive teammates off the field.