The Gamecocks were left for dead with 15 minutes to play at Missouri last week. Then Connor Shaw put on his cape, entered the game and salvaged the season for South Carolina. CBSsportsline.com has named a South Carolina a 12 point favorite on Saturday. ESPN reported that Connor Shaw is healthy and ready to play four quarters.
Mississippi State has not taken advantage of their opportunities to knock off a top ranked team. This will be their chance to catch one of the SEC giants sleeping. At (4-3), the Bulldogs can either get some respect or stay the middling team that many people think they are.
The offense has been taken over by Dak Prescott at quarterback. His duel threat ability could present some problems against the South Carolina defense. Prescott has 490 yards rushing this season and has more rushing touchdowns (8) than passing touchdowns (5).
Defensively, Mississippi State has to slow down Mike Davis on the ground. Davis is rapidly approaching 1000 yards rushing this season. He’s hard to bring down and has speed break long touchdown runs. Mississippi State must tackle well and run to the ball. They must also be aware of Connor Shaw breaking contain.
The offense has some explosive capabilities, but they sometimes get too stagnant. They have a number of receivers that can make big plays. It’s up to the quarterbacks to get them the ball. The aforementioned Mike Davis fumbled a couple of times last week. It should have cost South Carolina the game, but the Gamecocks persevered.
Defensively, South Carolina hasn’t been as good as advertised prior to the season. However, they do have shutdown capabilities for long stretches. Jadeveon Clowney will force double teams, so the defense will need to be in position to make plays.
There’s no way South Carolina will lose at home after coming back for an improbable victory over Missouri. It’s all about Connor Shaw. His heroic effort may be remembered for a long time if South Carolina earns a trip to the SEC championship.
South Carolina 28
Mississippi State 20