Gamecocks Are Looking to Shut Down Rocky Top


As a rare snowfall kicks off the morning in Columbia, tonight the Gamecocks are looking to shut down Rocky Top, the song the Tennessee band plays after every score.  Not sure about the rest of you fans, but there are very few songs I’ve come to dislike as much as that one.  Maybe it’s just me, but it definitely pours salt in the wound, and with everything that has gone on this season, it’s the last thing anyone wants to hear tonight. Let’s take a look at the specifics surrounding this game.

Kickoff: 7:30pm with temperature around 45 degrees and windy conditions

Last season, the Gamecocks lost to the Volunteers 23-21 in Knoxville in a game that became a sore spot for the rest of the season.  It was a game South Carolina was expected to win, and many people believe with a victory would have put the Gamecocks in the SEC championship and ultimately the BCS bowl games.

This season, both teams are young and struggling.  Tennessee is 3-5 and 0-4 in the SEC this season, and a victory tonight would be a huge moral win for the Volunteer players and fans.  South Carolina is 4-4 and 2-4 in the SEC, currently in a 3 game SEC losing streak.  The Gamecocks announced they will be wearing all black pants and jerseys for the first time in years.  It has pumped up the players and fans, however, they have lost the last 5 games that they’ve worn any type of black.  Hopefully, many streaks will end tonight.

So what are the Gamecocks going to do to ensure we don’t have to hear that irritating song over and over?

Gamecocks need to rely on Mike Davis – Davis has been on fire the past few weeks, whether it’s been running the ball or catching it out of the backfield.  Not only can he eat up a lot of clock time, but his explosiveness “gets the people going” and anything they can do to fire up the fans on this chilly night at Williams Brice will make it difficult for the Volunteers to really get going like they want. 

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Dylan Thompson needs to play a mistake free game – Dylan is on pace to break all kinds of single season records and is near the top in many of the all time records, too but his mistakes may be his legend.  Whether it’s been over-throwing wide open receivers, panicking when there is any type of pressure, or making throws he shouldn’t make, they cannot afford any of these tonight.  Dylan is fifth year senior who has had a lot of playing time before now, and shouldn’t be struggling with these types of issues.  Hopefully tonight he can play with confidence and show everyone why he is going to break so many records.

The defense needs to stay home and just handle their assignments – many times young defensive players get caught up in the moment, and ultimately the offense burns them because of it.  They are going to have to contain QB Josh Dobbs for Tennessee who impressed a lot of people with his play against Alabama.  The Gamecocks cannot afford to get burned not recognizing a screen play, end around, or other mis-direction plays.  If they can just be content to handle their assignments and not play out of position chasing “the big play” then they can shut down their offense.

I hope the Gamecocks can do all this, because if not, we’ll all be having nightmares about that song playing over and over in our head.