South Carolina football: Predicting the first SEC road game

The South Carolina football team hits the road this week for SEC road game No. 1 at Missouri, a team the Gamecocks beat, 31-21, in 2016.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Below are the predictions from SEC Country contributors Mike Chapman and Hale McGranahan.

Mike Chapman: South Carolina 42, Missouri 39

Riding the wave of momentum after its win against a very good N.C. State team last Saturday, South Carolina hopes to carry that success on the road this week. The road has been rocky for the Gamecocks, who haven’t won a road game since Vanderbilt to open the start of the 2016 season.

This game is going to be a shootout, so whichever team has the ball last is either going to win it or lose it on their final play.

South Carolina has the offense to keep up with Missouri, but I believe this week we are going to see a heavy dose of the running game to try to keep that Tigers offense off of the field. The Gamecocks were able to rush for almost 180 yards last year against the Tigers, and I think they have an excellent shot at getting more than 200 yards on the ground on Saturday.

Missouri is a poor tackling team and they are not that good on the defensive line, which creates a recipe for a lot of running lanes in space for Carolina’s backs. I also think we will see more throws to the tight ends this week as the Gamecocks try to get Hayden Hurst and K.C. Crosby over the middle of the field.

Defensively, the key is for the secondary to keep everything in front of it. Can that defense continue to wreak havoc with turnovers? They forced 3 in last year’s game.

If the offense can control the ball, and the defense can get a few stops, I see South Carolina coming home to take on Kentucky next week at 2-0.

Hale McGranahan: South Carolina 45, Missouri 40

Points on points on points on points. This game is going to have plenty of touchdowns and it will probably take 4 hours to finish, but when the final gun sounds the Gamecocks will be 2-0 when they’re ready to open Williams-Brice Stadium for business.

Defensively, they’ll have to find a way to slow a high-flying, up-tempo offense that’s capable of putting up a lot of points. Look no further than last week’s 72-point, 800-yard effort against Missouri State.

However, it was against Missouri State, and Missouri did give up 353 yards through the air and 139 yards on the ground. Again, that was Missouri State.

Jake Bentley and Deebo Samuel will shine like they did last season when the two teams met in Columbia, S.C. Same with Rico Dowdle. I also have to think one of the other running backs, A.J. Turner or Ty’Son Williams, will also be productive.

The post South Carolina football: Predicting the first SEC road game appeared first on SEC Country.

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