Sep 7, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) walks on the field in between plays in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Thoughts On: #5 Missouri Tigers vs. # 21 South Carolina Gamecocks

Missouri is named the “Show Me” state, and now is the time for the Missouri Tigers football team to show us if they are a legitimate Top 5 team in the country.  On the other side of this tilt is South Carolina. 

Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks can make the rest of their season mean something important with a win or break their season with a loss. A win puts the Gamecocks ONE game behind Missouri in the SEC East and gives them the tie-breaker in the event the two programs tie each other atop the division at the end of the season.  This is a must-Win”for the Gamecocks.

Missouri had an easy first five games of the season, defeating those opponents by a combined 233-155.   The last two games against Georgia and Florida have been easy wins for the Tigers as well, though surprisingly so.  The Tigers took advantage of dire injury problems on the Bulldogs and Gators and made mincemeat of each.  Missouri beat Georgia and Florida by a combined 77-43

Missouri is using freshman Maty (One T) Mauk at quarterback against South Carolina.  Mauk had the first college start of this career last week against the Gators.  The Freshman quarterback from Kenton, Ohio threw for 336-yards and one touchdown.  Junior running back Henry Josey helped balance the Tigers offensive attack at home against the Gators by scampering for 136-yards and one touchdown.  Sophomore running back Russell Hansbrough has also contributed in the running game by amassing 436-yards on 64-carries and three touchdowns this season.

South Carolina is led on offense by guru Steve Spurrier and his on field right hand man Connor Shaw.  Spurrier has been through the SEC wars as a coach and player.  He knows every defense in the book.  The “Ol’ ball coach” knows how to make his offense work under any conditions.  Shaw makes the Spurrier offense even more dynamic because of his ability to run with the football.  Shaw has thrown for 1307-yards and 11-touchdowns.  The senior quarterback has also run for 397-yards and three touchdowns.  Shaw is only support in the running game, though.

That is led by beast-mode running back Mike Davis.  Davis is a hit and run back who has accounted for 879-yards on the ground and 10 touchdowns.  Watch for Spurrier to use Davis in a ball control capacity.

The success of the Gamecocks in this game revolves around Jadeveon Clowney.  Clowney has really done nothing to live-up to the pre-season Heisman Trophy hype this season.  The defensive end called the “best player in football” by Georgia head coach Mark Richt has two quarterback sacks and 19 tackles over the six games he played this season. 

His effort and conditioning leave a lot to be desired.  Spurrier will need to use him sparingly and basically save him for first downs and key third down plays in this game if he wants to maximize Clowneys’ effectiveness in the pass rush.

A couple of sacks in this game and a South Carolina win can “make-up” for the calamity this season has been for him so far.  It will be interesting to see how well Clowney performs.

Clowney or no-clowney this will be an awesome game.  Spurrier as a play caller compensates for the superiority that the Missouri offense has over the South Carolina offense.  The defenses have both been non-existant, essentially, so far this season.  The difference in the outcome of the game comes down to the capability of South Carolina to pressure Maty Mauk.  If he can stay in the pocket freely then he will pick apart the Gamecock defense.  Will it be “Good” Clowney or “Bad” Clowney at Faurot Field in Columbia on Saturday? The coin is still flipping in the air . . .


Final Score of Regulation:  South Carolina 31, Missouri 31


You make the call on the OT.


Tags: Missouri Tigers SEC Football South Carolina Gamecocks

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