With its conference schedule wrapped up, South Carolina can turn its attention to a pair of instate rivals, beginning Saturday with visiting Wofford. The Gamecocks completed only their eighth winning season in the SEC in 26 years in the league and now must be careful to not look past the Terriers to next week’s opponent, No. 3 Clemson.
The Gamecocks dedicated two days in the summer and two more during their week off to prepare for Wofford, which runs a triple-option offense that utilizes cut blocks. “It’s just so different from what we normally see, you have to expose your players to it,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp told the media. “You have to stay on your feet, give ground if you have to, keep your back leg out of it.” The last time South Carolina faced a triple-option team was in 2015, when The Citadel ran for 350 yards in posting a 23-22 upset in Columbia. The Terriers, an FCS team out of the Southern Conference, have not faced anyone at South Carolina’s level, but have won a bunch of games with that strong running attack, which is led by Andre Stoddard.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT WOFFORD (9-1): With the Terriers not getting much from their quarterbacks - they have only four touchdowns passes on the season - it will be up to Stoddard and company (260.2 rushing yards per game) to penetrate a South Carolina defense that has limited opponents to an average of 142.1 rushing yards. Stoddard leads the team in yards, carries and touchdowns with 14, but Lennox McAfee and Blake Morgan have proven to be more than capable rushers for Mike Ayers, who is in his 30th season as coach. On defense, the Terriers have received seven interceptions from their starting cornerbacks Devin Watson and George Gbesee, who will look to target South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, who has five interceptions in the last two games.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (7-3): As it has for most of the season, the Gamecocks’ run game will play a huge part in who wins this game. In their three losses this season, the Gamecocks were limited to 54, 23 and 43 rushing yards, respectively, and the Terriers have one of top rushing defenses in the FCS. Sophomore A.J. Turner has come on of late, running for 121 or more yards in two of the last three games, while Bentley and Mon Denson each ran for a pair of scores last week, with Denson’s the first two of his career.
1. The Terriers have allowed only two 100-yard rushers in their last 49 games.
2. The Gamecocks and the Terriers have squared off 23 times, but only four of the meetings have occurred in this century and all were won by South Carolina.
3. Since 2006, South Carolina has posted a 10-1 mark against FCS opponents while outscoring them 406-170.
PREDICTION: South Carolina 27, Wofford 23