South Carolina Football: Missouri Tigers preview

South Carolina football will have to deal with Luther Burden this weekend. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football will have to deal with Luther Burden this weekend. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

This Saturday, South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer (and his broken foot) will look to lead the Gamecocks back to the win column against the surprise 6-1 Missouri Tigers. USC will travel to the “other Columbia,” a place where they have not won since 2017.

Despite the Gamecocks having the better team the last two seasons, South Carolina football has not beaten Mizzou at all since 2018 in the “Michael Scarnecchia Game/Monsoon Game.”

The four-game win streak is the longest for either team in the history of the young rivalry, and the Tigers are betting favorites to extend the streak to five games. Depending on which site one checks, the Gamecocks are between a 6-point and 8-point underdog for Saturday’s game.

A win for Missouri keeps the Tigers in contention in the SEC East, while a win for Carolina would resurrect the Gamecocks’ hopes for bowl eligibility.

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz has had the Gamecocks’ number for quite some time now. When Drink was the offensive coordinator at NC State in 2017, the Gamecocks won the game, but the Wolfpack put up over 500 yards of offense. In 2019 as the head coach at Appalachian State, Drinkwitz upset the Gamecocks in Williams-Brice Stadium. Now, since taking the Missouri job, he is a perfect 3-0 over USC.

The Gamecocks have had their offense slowed in a major way during Missouri’s win streak. In those games, USC has only scored more than 14 points once in those four games and has not had 300 yards of total offense at any point.

This year’s South Carolina football team has more firepower on offense, however. Spencer Rattler and Xavier Legette are one of the top quarterback-receiver combinations in the country, and the emergence of Mario Anderson at running back has breathed some life into the Gamecock ground attack.

Missouri’s offense is a very good unit, as well. Led by experienced quarterback Brady Cook, receiver Luther Burden, and running back Cody Schrader, the Mizzou offense has hit a new gear. First-year offensive coordinator Kirby Moore has guided the offense to over 80 yards per game more than last year’s offense in CoMo.

Cook has been one of the top quarterbacks in the conference this fall, and Burden is second in all of Power-5 football in receiving yards. Schrader, a D-II transfer like Gamecock running back Mario Anderson, separated himself as the starter from the beginning of the year and is second in the SEC in rushing with over 600 yards on the year.

The Missouri defense isn’t quite as good as many predicted it to be this offseason, but the unit has been extremely disruptive at times this year. The defense is in the top half of the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions, and passes defended. Kris Abrams-Draine is one of the best corners in the league, and Darius Robinson and Johhny Walker, Jr. have combined for 7.5 sacks and 14 more tackles for loss.

Because both teams have good offenses and Missouri has an opportunistic defense, the key to this SEC East matchup will be how the Gamecock defense plays.

If Clayton White’s unit plays like they have the last two games against Tennessee and Florida, Missouri should win and could run away with things. However, if the Gamecocks can limit one area of Missouri’s offense (they shut down the run against Mississippi State and were mostly good in the passing against North Carolina), they will have a chance to win.

The Gamecocks and Tigers will kick off at 3:30 on the SECNetwork and ESPN App.

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