South Carolina football meets up against the Missouri Tigers this Saturday in Columbia.
It was my pleasure to be able to do a round table discussion this week with Eric Quackenbush, site expert of “Truman’s Tales“. South Carolina football takes on Missouri this weekend in Columbia, Columbia, South Carolina that is.
The Gamecocks are coming off a tough loss at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats, and they are looking to get back on track against the Tigers. Hopefully the home crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium will give them all the energy they need to pull out a win.
Lets get to the discussion:
Garnet and Cocky: After the bye week, do you expect to see an early lull from the Missouri offense?
Truman’s Tales: I always anticipate a team returning from the bye week to start out a little sluggish. I don’t see Missouri playing like they did in the second or third week of the season, nor will they be in mid-season form fresh off their bye. I think the Tigers will start off a little slow, maybe even a little conservative in order to feel out South Carolina’s game plan. I expect to see the Tigers rely on their run game to set up the pass, since Mizzou receiver Emmanuel Hall is expected to return to the field on Saturday. Hall had been nursing a groin injury, so to what extent his level of confidence will be remains to be seen.
Hall is Mizzou’s main deep threat, so if he’s ready to play, it will depend on how healthy he is to how effective he can be.
Garnet and Cocky: Do you expect the Tigers to come out ready to go after the Georgia loss, or do think there will be some hangover?
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Truman’s Tales: I think Missouri will come prepared as best it can. Last year, the Tigers started the first few minutes of the game strongly against South Carolina, but soon after, were pretty much owned by the Gamecocks for the rest of the game. South Carolina will again have the ability to make the day difficult for the Tigers, but Mizzou also has senior quarterback Drew Lock under center, a good one-two punch in Larry Rountree and Damarea Crockett, and also a budding playmaker in Tyler Badie. Add to that, receivers Emanuel Hall and Albert Okwuegbunam are a daunting combo of receivers to defend. The area that probably concerns me most is the Tigers’ defense, which has been missing at times.
Garnet and Cocky: Drew Lock certainly didn’t have the best game of his career against Georgia, are you expecting him to turn it around big time vs. the Gamecocks?
Truman’s Tales: Lock didn’t have his best game against Georgia, but it was better than I expected from last year. At any rate, Lock will be interested in improving his draft stock, considering the two arguably toughest opponents Missouri will face this year is Georgia and Alabama. The rest of the Tigers’ schedule has the potential to go either way, but if Missouri can shore up its inconsistent play on defense and the offense can give the defense a break late in a game, then I think the Tigers could realistically look at one or two more losses on the season.
I expect Lock to have a better game against the Gamecocks than he had against Georgia – I don’t know to what extent that turnaround performance will be, but I expect after a week off and two weeks to prepare for South Carolina, it will be a lot better; South Carolina has a good defense, but I think Georgia’s is probably one of the better defenses Lock will play against this year.
Garnet and Cocky: Do you think there is potential that Missouri looks past South Carolina knowing that they go to Alabama to face the Crimson Tide next week?
Truman’s Tales: No, I don’t think the Tigers will fall into that trap. They will play this game to the best of their ability – hopefully, for a win. I think both teams are pretty evenly matched. If the Tigers are looking ahead to Alabama, which to me is a sure loss, then they are doing themselves and the fans a disservice if they lose what could be a winnable game.
South Carolina is a good team and is coming off of two bitter losses to Georgia and Kentucky. I think Missouri needs to bring its best game into this one.
Garnet and Cocky: What is your prediction for the game this Saturday?
Truman’s Tales: I think the end result will be close. Both teams seem to be feeling out where their strengths lie, since it’s still early enough in the season. This game could be a turning point in the season for either team.
For the Tigers, there are a lot of “ifs” to be wary of. If the defense doesn’t wear down; if the offense can get into a good rhythm; if Emanuel Hall is near or at 100%; if the defensive secondary can find a way to limit its shortcomings, then I like Missouri’s chances of taking the win. The Tigers kept up with Georgia for a good three quarters two weeks ago.
If I’m forced to pick, then I’ll give Mizzou a slight edge, and say the Tigers win by 4 in a late game touchdown.