The Missouri Tigers (2-3) travel to South Carolina (2-5) in their first action in three weeks. The Gamecocks led by their senior quarterback Collin Hill look to break a three game losing streak. Each team runs their offense differently with the Tigers more a passing threat, while the Gamecocks are a challenge in the ground game.
Missouri Found Their Quarterback
In their season opener, the Tigers started quarterback Shawn Robinson. Despite Robinson playing well against a tough opponent in Alabama, he was benched late in the game. Connor Bazelak stepped in performing better and better each week as a redshirt freshman. Bazelak’s best came this season came against LSU where he threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns with a 85.3 completion percentage. His performance led a 45-41 victory over LSU. Bazelak will need to do the same if he wants to get a win against the Gamecocks.
In the two weeks after the LSU game, Bazelak has still played well against Kentucky and the No. 6 Florida Gators. However, he did not make a difference as he barely passed for over 200 yards and did not throw a single touchdown in each of those two games. Their path to victory against South Carolina is through the air. The Gamecocks average a little over 288 passing yards per game which is bottom of the barrel and slightly better than the previously mention LSU Tigers. It was no different for South Carolina last week against Ole Miss. The Gamecocks gave up over 500 yards passing and four touchdowns in a 59-42 shootout.
Missouri Tigers’ Offense Cools Off
Already mentioned Bazelak slowed down after dominating the LSU’s defense. But, it is not just him, the whole offense went from scoring 45 points to no more than 20 in their last two games. Kentucky has shown to stop the pass all season but, Florida is giving up 30 points a game. Missouri is the only team the Gators did not allow at least 24 points.
Larry Rountree helped the offense overcome in the end against the Wildcats. Rountree ran for 126 yards but it took 37 carries to get there. In their game against Florida, Rountree saw 14 carries and managed only 36 yards. On Saturday, Rountree accepted an invite to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl for the great season he is having this year.
Coach Eli Drinkwitz would like to more consistency in his offense.
Gamecocks Sport 1,000 Yards Rushing
After just punishing the Ole Miss Rebels last week on the ground, the Gamecocks as a team have rushed for over 1,000 yards. Both running backs, Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwick, rushed for a little over nine yards a carry. Harris led the way in yards with a whopping 243 and Fenwick got 82 yards on nine carries. On the season they both average over six yards per carry. Also, to add on to it Harris tied third in the nation in rushing touchdowns (13).
The run game has been carrying the South Carolina offense. Hill’s season has not been pretty. While throwing for over 1,000 yards, his touchdown to interception ratio is one. Hill has thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions. In Hill’s defense, he has also been sacked 20 times this season so his time to throw the ball is very tiny.
Missouri coach Drinkwitz knows he will being seeing a heavy dose of running and compliments the offense line and offensive staff on knowing their personnel strengths.
Finishing the Season with an Interim Coach
South Carolina’s athletic director Ray Tanner announced the firing of their head coach Will Muschamp the day following South Carolina’s devastating loss to Ole Miss. In his absence, offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo, will serve as interim head coach. Muschamp won more games in his first three seasons than any other coach in school history (22).
In the first game with a new man leading can the Gamecocks pull something together against Mizzou? The school said in a statement the search for a new head coach will begin immediately. Liberty’s Hugh Freeze, Louisiana’s Billy Napier and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell expected to be top candidates for any collegiate team looking for a new head coach this season.