Does A Change At The Top Lead To A Gamecocks Win For The First Time Since Mid October?

South Carolina football has taken a big hit this week including losing some star players in Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu. Many other players will be out for the rest of the season such as Rj Roderick (Opt Out), Makius Scott (Opt Out), Aaron Sterling (injury), Brad Johnson (injury), and Keveon Mullins (injury).

Where does South Carolina go from here? How will they react with three games left in the regular season and maybe a bowl game opportunity? 

The answer is just play with passion. Yes, you lost a coach and I feel for some of the players, but at the end of the day you gotta get the job done and succeed in the SEC.

With two of your best corners out for the season, it’s going to be a rough patch for the secondary not having Jaycee Horn in the backfield making plays after players every Saturday. I think it’s great we get to see these young players get playing time and it will be a learning experience for all of them and all they can do is learn from it. 

We will see a lot of Shilo Sanders, Cam Smith and John Dixon playing in the backfield this Saturday against Missouri.

Defense will be a huge problem for the Gamecocks Saturday. The Gamecocks have given up an SEC-high 18 passing touchdowns and 288.3 passing yards per game which ranks 104th in the FBS.

With both star corners gone for the Gamecocks how do they handle this situation? 

Missouri will do all they can to get the passing game going against a very weak and inexperienced backfield from the Gamecocks.

Over this week, Zaquandre White was moved from running back to safety on tuesday. This shows you the lack of depth the Gamecocks have on the defensive side of the ball, but White did take some reps at safety while playing for Florida State. 

The biggest factor of this game is what will Mike Bobo do on offense to either keep the game close or secure a game winning drive against Missouri? 

We should all expect for the man Aka “The Bus” Kevin Harris to get more than 20 plus carries this Saturday.

Harris has seemed to be unstoppable this year and I don’t see Missouri slowing him down at all. Missouri is allowing almost four yards a rush and with a running back like Harris, I see him averaging six yards per carry if not more.

Collin Hill will once play a big factor on offense like he did against Ole Miss. He couldn’t step up at the end as it cost us last Saturday.

With Missouri’s defense, they only have one interception on the year with 12 passing touchdowns allowed this season and a total of 394.8 yards per game making their defense 55th in the FBS. By no means is that terrible, but they have allowed around 6.23 yards a play. 

Once again, Shi Smith and Kevin Harris will both have to carry this offense with some deep shots to Smith and Big holes for Harris. We will also see a decent amount of Fenwick so don’t forget about him, as he will have a decent game once again just like he did against Ole Miss with nine carries for 82 yards averaging 9.1 yards a carry. 

If the Gamecocks want to win this game, the young secondary will need to step up and make some red zone stops forcing them to a field goals.

The defensive line with Tonka Hemmingway, Zacch Pickens, and Keir Thomas will need to put pressure on the quarterback with there pass rush. The defense can not fold and get pushed around all game especially on the defensive line which could impact Missouri’s running game leading to major holes for Larry Roundtree. 

Key Players To Watch 

With Horn and Mukuamu both out for the season, this leaves Jammie Robinson, Cam Smith and John Dixon to lead the backfield into Saturday’s night game against Missouri.

Robinson led the backfield with 11 total tackles and one tackle for loss last game against Ole Miss. Redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak can impact this game in a big way with his passing game; throwing for 1,101 yards on 69 completion rate.

Jammie Robinson or Cam Smith will most likely be matched up against Jalen Knox in the slot or Damon Hazelton with both receivers having the most receptions on the team combining for 39 catches, 411 receiving yards, but zero touchdowns. 

Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwish should both be the key to success on offense once again Saturday. Shi Smith will have a good game like last week, but I don’t see him impacting the game like Harris will.

Mike Bobo said on Carolina Calls that “The Offense Is On A Mission To Get Kevin Harris To 1,000 Yards” Harris as of right now has 817 yards with 3 games remaining. We should all then expect Mike Bobo to feed Harris the ball with 20 plus carries undoubtedly with over 135 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

I’m excited to see Harris work and achieve a goal we never saw coming after the news broke that Lloyd was out with a torn ACL. The biggest key factor for Harris’s success Saturday will be if the offensive line can hold its ground and make holes for Harris to break through. 

Last but not least is Gamecocks quarterback Collin Hill. With a two and five record as the starter for the Gamecocks, Hill is coming off a decent game against Ole Miss completing 17-28 passes and throwing for 230 yards with a touchdown and one interception.

Collin Hill last week only had one target in Shi Smith who had 10 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. The closest receiver to Smith was Jalen Brooks with 3 receptions for 47 yards. Collin Hill and Shilo Smith will both need to have a big game to keep the gamecocks rolling on offense Saturday. 

Mike Bobo’s Key To Success 

The Gamecocks came into this week knowing they would lose some players and having an interim coach come in and take over, what can you expect from Bobo? 

For this game Saturday, expect Bobo to feed Kevin Harris the ball at all cost. You can tell that Bobo has a lot of trust in Harris as he has all season long.

After Harris’s performance last week, you have no choice but to trust him and hope that your offensive line can hold the blocks from the first play to the last play of the game.

Collin Hill has almost been sacked three times a game with being sacked 20 times this season. The Gamecocks should run a ground and pound offense against Missouri with some consistent slants, screens and out routes to Shi Smith and Jalen Brooks.

The huge problem with Jalen Brooks is that he seems to not be able to shine when needed. He showed it against LSU with multiple dropped passes and seemed very confused the entire game. Nothing really changed for him against Ole Miss as his only catches really came at the end of the game with about a minute left. Mike Bobo knows that he will need to find a way to get Brooks into the passing game this week and give him some confidence going forward. 

Mike Bobo running this offense could result in a lot of plays for maybe Luke Doty and Joyner to play in. Luke Doty has shown some flashes of athleticism and I think the Gamecocks will put him back there for a couple of snaps to confuse the Missouri defense.

Mike Bobo should look at running Joyner at wildcat. When Joyner has the ball it seems like all he does is gain a decent amount of yards every carry. Switching Doty and Joyner out on different drives for the wildcat could really mess with a defensive scheme especially when both players are naturally talented runners.

Bobo will need to switch this offense up in order to keep running up that score board. This isn’t a Ole Miss defense who ranked third from last in the FBS for yards allowed per game. Missouri will eventually catch on to what the Gamecocks are doing and Harris will not have a cake walk to 200 yards with five touchdowns. 

If Bobo wants to win this game, then getting everybody involved is your best option. There’s too much talent from Hillinski and Doty just to be sitting there. Let them play the season out and go learn and develop before the season is over. Bobo should take this time to develop more talent for next year, to boost these players’ confidence up. 

With that being said, I believe that Bobo will get this offense together and put some points on the board. Defensive wise knowing Travaris Robertson not much will change vs Missouri. The Tigers will open up the secondary and light up the scoreboard as well. 


Coming into this game, Mike Bobo and the Gamecocks should come out and play mad and frustrated. Some players will get their first start of the season, even some freshmen will have some playing time Saturday. 

Missouri’s offense is a little skeptical, they only have one game where they have scored over 20 all season which was against LSU. Their defense seems to struggle more on the passing game then the running game so Shi Smith will need to have a good game again.

We should expect the Gamecocks to struggle on the defensive side of the ball, leaving a lot of easy gaps for Missouri’s offense to run and pass through.

Don’t count the Gamecocks out yet. Anything can happen and if Bobo comes out strong on offense we could see a totally different ball game then I predicted. 

If Missouri cannot get the running game going then expect Connor Bazelak to have a big role in Missouri’s offensive success this Saturday at Williams Brice Stadium.

I believe the Gamecocks will keep it close and go out swinging till the end.

Prediction: Missouri 35, South Carolina 28

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