South Carolina vs. Arkansas: Prediction and preview
South Carolina and Arkansas will try to keep the momentum going with an early conference showdown in Fayetteville. The Gamecocks and Razorbacks are each coming off noteworthy wins because both Week 1 opponents put up a fight, especially early on. The game will kickoff at noon (ET) on ESPN. The teams have not met since 2017, a game won by the Gamecocks, 48-22, in Columbia, in a game coached by Bret Bielema and Will Muschamp. Arkansas leads the all-time series 13-10, but South Carolina has won 3 straight.
South Carolina vs. Arkansas preview
Arkansas is up 3 spots to No. 16 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll following the win over Cincinnati, while South Carolina received 2 votes in the poll after the Georgia State victory.
This game pits 2 programs who have seen ahead-of-schedule turnarounds by coaches who largely have a positive outlook, somewhat of a departure from some of their colleagues. Sam Pittman regularly touts the merits of the state of Arkansas, the people and lifestyle, while Shane Beamer often promotes a family-type atmosphere that is inclusive and supportive.
It is a challenge of a turnaround for the Razorbacks after the tough Cincinnati game, and the Gamecocks pose a tougher threat, at least at quarterback and on the defensive line.
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A couple of the main questions are if the South Carolina offensive line can show any improvement after a lackluster effort, especially in the beginning, against Georgia State. For Arkansas, it’s the injury status of Jalen Catalon and Myles Slusher, and if they are replaced in the lineup.
Last year, South Carolina’s defense was No. 7 against the pass, but much worse against the run. Arkansas, meanwhile, led the SEC in rushing last season, and averaged 227.8 yards per game. South Carolina gave up nearly 5 yards per carry. Led by QB KJ Jefferson and his 62 rushing yards, the Razorbacks ran for 224 yards against Cincinnati, while the Gamecocks gave up 200 to Georgia State. This will be a stiff test for the likes of Jordan Burch and Zacch Pickens as fans continue to expect them to live up to their 5-star hype.
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Along with Rattler, who Stephen Garcia said this week should shoulder some of the pass protection issues, look for Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood to make an impact for Arkansas. He had 3 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown last week.
Prediction: Arkansas 31, South Carolina 21