South Carolina football: Predicting the rest of the Gamecocks' schedule
South Carolina is looking for its first win over Texas A&M. But of the 6 previous meetings, only 2 were decided by more than 10 points, including last year, 30-6.
Sitting at 2-3 this season, the Gamecocks need 3 more wins to top last year’s disappointing 4-8 effort and climb back to .500.
Five games remain, but how will the Gamecocks do? Let’s predict the rest of South Carolina’s season:
vs. Texas A&M, Saturday
The surging Aggies have several paths to victory as they come in with a 3-game winning streak overall. Kellen Mond’s production during the streak is noteworthy. He’s completed 70% of passes for 737 yards with 8 touchdowns and 1 interception.
In his career against South Carolina, he has completed 66% for 733 yards with 2 touchdowns; 167 rushing yards 1 touchdown.
The counter to that is South Carolina’s rushing effort behind Kevin Harris vs. the Aggies’ vulnerable run defense. Arkansas just rushed for 222 yards against A&M.
Muschamp understands how important that matchup is for the Gamecocks.
“If you get into a one-dimensional game it’s going to be very difficult as far as blocking those guys. We have to stay with the run, which I know is something we’re committed to and Mike Bobo is committed to. That’s been something every week has been an emphasis for us, regardless of who we’re playing.”
Prediction: Texas A&M 30, South Carolina 21
at Ole Miss, Nov. 14
Can South Carolina win a shootout? If any game would reveal that, it’d be this one. This also has the feel of one of those Muschamp games where the Gamecocks pull out an improbable victory.
The Rebels’ defense is last in the SEC in yards allowed (533.5 per game) and points allowed (40.7). Look for a second receiver or tight end to emerge to finally give Shi Smith some help, and don’t be surprised if Kevin Harris churns over that defense that gives up 231 rushing yards per game.
Prediction: South Carolina 35, Ole Miss 31
vs. Missouri, Nov. 21
This was one of the more disappointing games for the Gamecocks last season. Ryan Hilinski struggled mightily and it sparked a change on defense. Missouri’s win snapped a 3-game winning streak for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina is 3-1 against the Tigers in Williams-Brice Stadium since they joined the SEC. Look for South Carolina to try and duplicate the game plan it used against Auburn, with Missouri also having a young quarterback on the road, and a strong running game. Missouri will also be coming off a game against Georgia, which will be physical while the Ole Miss game for South Carolina likely less so, especially for the Gamecocks’ offense. If the Gamecocks can force Connor Bazelak into mistakes like they did Bo Nix, the Gamecocks can win.
Prediction: South Carolina 28, Missouri 14
vs. Georgia, Nov. 28
This revenge game for Georgia could be largely dependent on how much the Bulldogs have to play for after Florida. But even if they lose to the Gators, the shocking defeat last year will be all the motivation Kirby Smart needs to make it 6 wins for Georgia out of the last 8 games in the series.
Israel Mukuamu will be a main topic of conversation this week following his 3-pick performance last year. If Stetson Bennett is still Georgia’s quarterback, there’s a chance he could get into a flurry of turnovers, but this game has a feel that Georgia has too many paths to victory to lock this one up.
Prediction: Georgia 24, South Carolina 10
at Kentucky, Dec. 5
This game will be interesting because of what’s at stake in the postseason. The SEC office will decide that. So while the traditional bowl eligibility requirements are not in place this year, improving the résumé with another win is something to keep in mind.
Remember, Muschamp lost his first 3 games to Kentucky until last year’s win. Kentucky has had its own issues at quarterback and doesn’t appear to have much of a downfield passing game.
Its strong offensive line primarily does well in the run game, where the Wildcats have several quality backs. The weather in Lexington in early December is not expected to be favorable for a shootout, and that should help the Gamecocks, who seem to be dependable for a few scoring drives against a team like Kentucky.
Prediction: South Carolina 17, Kentucky 9