South Carolina football: week two preview and prediction

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The South Carolina football team travels to Gainesville for a week two matchup.

South Carolina will travel to the Swamp to take on Dan Mullen and the third-ranked Florida Gators this Saturday. Kickoff is set for high noon with the game being aired on ESPN.

The Gamecocks are coming off of a 31-27 loss to SEC East rival Tennessee. The game was tight throughout, but a few costly Carolina mistakes cost the team a chance to leave Williams-Brice Stadium with a win.

Florida, on the other hand, is riding high from a 51-35 defeat of Ole Miss. The Gator offense put on a show in its opening day win, racking up 642 yards, the most of any team in the conference. Quarterback Kyle Trask picked up right where he left off last season, throwing for six touchdowns on the day.

South Carolina’s defense will need to keep the Gators in check if they hope to keep the game interesting. The matchup between the Gamecock defensive backs and the Florida pass catchers will be the most important of the contest.

Keep an eye on that and a few other keys in our week two preview.

 

TEAM OUTLOOKS

The South Carolina football team lost a close one in the season opener, but there were a few positive takeaways in its week one performance.

SOUTH CAROLINA

The Gamecocks, for the most part, played well in the run game, holding the Vols to just 133 yards and one explosive play (15+ yards). And that was coming against one of the conference’s more talented backfields and an offensive line unit that may be the SEC’s best.

South Carolina was also able to pressure quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, recording 2.5 sacks, led by junior defensive end JJ Enagbare. The first-year starter tallied nine tackles and a forced fumble on the night and looks like he’ll be a menace for opposing signal callers.

There were certainly some things to clean up, too. The special teams, outside of a 2-for-2 day from Parker White, looked awful. Freshman punter Kai Kroeger struggled in his first collegiate start, averaging just 35 yards a kick, and a muffed punt in the fourth quarter ended the Gamecocks’ hopes of a comeback.

The secondary also struggled, particularly after the first half injury of Israel Mukuamu. After allowing just seven points before the halftime intermission, the defense gave up 21 points over the final two periods of the contest. A couple of reserve corners were picked on in Mukuamu’s absence.

On offense, Collin Hill looked solid in his first start in Columbia, outside of a first half pick six. The run game needs to find its best option, but all three tailbacks showed bright spots in the opener. The line, which appeared to be the strength of the offense, played poorly, allowing four sacks and nine tackles for loss.

 

FLORIDA

Florida’s offense looked fantastic in its opener, led by Kyle Trask. The senior signal caller threw for 416 yards, with 170 of that going to his favorite target, tight end Kyle Pitts. Pitts caught four of Trask’s six touchdowns, and looks to be a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses.

The run game was productive, too, utilizing both receivers and running backs to rush for 196 total yards. The offense got big plays on the ground from Emory Jones, Malik Davis, and Kadarius Toney as they averaged more than 6.5 yards per carry.

On defense, the Gators left something to be desired, allowing 35 points and more than 600 yards of offense to Lane Kiffin’s Rebels. Some of that output came in garbage time, though, with the game clearly in hand. The Gators led by three touchdowns entering the fourth quarter.

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