Published November 2, 2010 - 5:30am
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The Arkansas Razorbacks (6-2) travel to Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2) this weekend. Both teams are coming off impressive victories over lesser opponents last weekend. Here are five things you need to know about Arkansas vs South Carolina:
1. South Carolina has to get pressure on Ryan Mallett. Defensive end Cliff Matthews played very well in the Tennessee game. The senior has been coming alive as of late in the pass rush, and I think Matthews will be a key factor in this game to keep Mallett from throwing on their defense. Last week, he had two sacks and a forced fumble. Tennessee had some success last week through the air; however, Arkansas presents a totally different challenge this week.
2. South Carolina needs to put their opponent away. It has been happening all season, and it reared its ugly head against Kentucky a couple weeks ago. This past week, Tennessee came out in the second half and gave them two touchdowns, but the Gamecocks could not put the game away. They let them linger around to make a game of it. South Carolina has to do a better job of putting their opponents away.
3. Arkansas’ passing game has a complement. Ryan Mallett is coming off a career-high in passing, but running back Knile Davis has provided a spark for the last three games in the running game to provide a nice changeup to Mallett’s potent passing attack. In his last three games, Davis has rushed for 361 yards and five touchdowns. He is averaging 120 yards per game during the three game stretch, and Davis will have to be a spark in the running game against the Gamecocks.
4. The Arkansas’ receivers against the South Carolina defensive backs will be a great matchup to watch. The receiving core for Arkansas consists of Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and DJ Williams. Greg Childs, however, is out for the year, and this hurts the Hogs’ passing offense. Ryan Mallett also uses the tailbacks in the passing game as well. The South Carolina defensive secondary consists of Stephon Gilmore, DJ Swearinger and Devonte Holloman, and they hope to stop the Razorbacks’ talented receivers. Starting safety Chris Culliver is out. He should be replaced by C.C. Whitlock. This will be a matchup that will be worth watching, as both are talented in their own right.
5. South Carolina is dead last in the SEC in passing defense. Arkansas is first in the conference in passing offense. On paper, South Carolina does not match up real well, but that’s why they play the game on the field. It will once again be a hard-fought SEC football game with each team having something left to prove.