South Carolina takes on Wofford at 1 p.m. on pay-per-view. This story takes a look at what the Gamecocks (8-2) need to do to ensure victory against the Terriers (8-2).
1. Disciplined on defense – It’s no secret what type of offense the triple option-based Wofford is going to run. It’s just a matter of whether South Carolina can stop it. They haven’t faced an option-based offense since end of the 2011 season when The Citadel came to town, and the Gamecocks did a solid job of handling their running game. The Terriers will come into Williams-Brice with confidence, and Lorenzo Ward’s bunch must be ready to play fundamentally sound football and to stick to their assignments.
2. Play from ahead – It’s much easier to beat a team like Woffrd when their opponent can put them in a hole and make them play from behind. Their offense is built to wear a team down over the course of a game and is more effective when they have a lead to build on and can stay within their game plan. It’s important for South Carolina to start fast offensively and put as many points as possible on the board in the first half.
3. Move the chains – The South Carolina offense must hold on to the football and keep their offense on the field to prevent Woffrd from having the opportunity to wear down the Gamecock defense with their physical running attack. Quarterback Connor Shaw needs to have another good day throwing the football, something he has done well in each of South Carolina’s home games this season.
4. Win on first down – Wofford tries to mix in just enough passing to keep a defense honest. They try to avoid obvious passing situations at all cost. Therefore the Gamecock defense needs to get the best of the Terrier offense on first down in an effort to force as many second and long and third and long situations as they can. The more Wofford is forced to throw it, the less likely they are to have a big night offensively.
5. Stiffen in the redzone – Wofford is likely to move the ball with some consistency in this game given their style of offense, so it’s imperative that the Gamecock defense keep them out of the end zone when they get inside the 25-yard line. The more field goals the Terriers are forced to kick, the more likely South Carolina is to win this game comfortably.
Final analysis – This is a game the Gamecocks need to be very careful with and not take lightly. Wofford will not be scared nor is the environment inside Williams-Brice likely to bother them. The defense needs to have a strong day from a tackling standpoint and also take good angles to slow the running game to some degree. My hunch is this game will be close for a while, but the Gamecocks will eventually prove too much for the Terriers to handle.
Prediction – South Carolina 41 Wofford 17