South Carolina Gamecocks: Five Keys to Beating UCF


After back-to-back losses to Kentucky and Georgia, the South Carolina Gamecocks look to get things back on track against the struggling UCF Knights. This is the perfect game for the Gamecocks to gain some confidence and work out some of the kinks on both sides of the ball. UCF will be missing a few key players on the offensive side of the ball as Justin Holman and Jordan Akins are both injured, and All-AAC running back Will Stanback was dismissed from the team earlier this week. Here are my keys to beating UCF.

  1. Play tighter coverage on defense. The pass defense has been horrible so far this season. Teams have had no trouble throwing the ball all over South Carolina, and the Gamecocks could very well be 0-3 right now if not for the heroics of Skai Moore intercepting 2 passes in the end zone against North Carolina. Regardless, South Carolina is giving up too much in the flats due to giving so much of a cushion to opposing receivers. It’s time to play closer to the line of scrimmage and shut down UCF’s passing game.
  2. Put together a complete game on defense. The Gamecocks have yet to put together a complete game on defense. They did pretty well shutting down UNC and Kentucky in the second half of each of those games, but were I’d feel better just not talking about Georgia. The defense needs a boost of confidence and that would come by playing an entire game of solid defense.
  3. Establish the run. Establishing the run may not be easy as UCF does have a pretty good run defense this season. It doesn’t help that Brandon Wilds is out for the game either. The added dimension of Lorenzo Nunez at quarterback should help the Gamecocks and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the triple option used with Pharoh Cooper and Shon Carson in the backfield. David Williams will also get carries and needs to make the most of his chances.
  4. Step up at receiver. Pharoh Cooper had 1 catch for 6 yards last week, and that’s the kind of production you’ll get from him if the Gamecocks don’t have some receivers step up and make plays. DJ Neal has a chance to prove himself in the absence of Deebo Samuel and the coaches raved about the way he practiced throughout the week. The receivers need to make some catches, especially if they want to open up the rushing attack.
  5. Minimize mistakes. The Gamecocks need to find a way to gain momentum during the game and to be able to carry over into the game against Missouri. Turnovers and penalties will not allow for momentum to be built so the Gamecocks must try to play a clean game.

Kick-off against the UCF Knights is at noon today. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Next: South Carolina Gamecocks vs UCF Knights: Position Advantage

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