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Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks Preview

Two-thirds of the way through the 2016 season, and the lines have mostly been drawn. Some unsuspecting powers have risen and others have fallen. One of those teams that may have just begun its rise from the rubble are the South Carolina Gamecocks. After a lackluster first half of the season that saw only a single division victory, there’s new life under the palmettos. Freshman quarterback Jake Bentley has lit a fire under the rest of the team. Last weekend, South Carolina (4-4, 2-4 SEC) pulled off their biggest upset in quite some time. Knocking off the Tennessee Volunteers was USC’s first division win over a team other than Vanderbilt since 2014. It was the first time the Gamecocks had defeated a ranked opponent since early in the 2014 season. Now let’s take a look at the Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks preview and prediction.

Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks Preview

Bowl eligibility and next year’s recruits are the main factors in the line for this young squad. If Carolina can continue winning and building momentum, it might mean higher caliber commits. Head coach Will ‘Boom’ Muschamp knows this is determined to make and win a bowl in his first season.

Halfway across the country, in Columbia, Missouri, there is no momentum and little spirit to be found. The Missouri Tigers (2-5, 0-4 SEC) have fallen much the same as South Carolina. After repeating as SEC East champions in 2014, the wheels simply fell off. First year Mizzou coach Barry Odom seeks his first SEC victory in Saturday’s ‘Battle of the Columbia’s.’

The primary difference between these two programs right now is this: the Gamecocks have found something that works. Missouri has not as of yet. With freshman duo Bentley under center and Rico Dowdle at tailback, USC is in a rhythm. Missouri is on a four-game losing skid that included a loss to Middle Tennessee at home. Although Mizzou’s lone pair of wins were dominant, they came against Eastern Michigan and Deleware State.

This newly minted rivalry currently sits at four wins for the Tigers, two victories for the Gamecocks, and no ties. Mizzou holds a two game win streak over South Carolina. Ironically, Missouri’s last win in division play was in last season’s 24-10 victory over South Carolina.

Missouri has shown sparks of dominance on offense in its lone two wins. After all, they blew the doors off Deleware State 79-0. South Carolina, on the other hand, had almost no offense until two weeks ago. Coach Muschamp’s bold decision to start Bentley at quarterback seemingly cured that issue.

My prediction for this Saturday afternoon matchup in Williams-Brice, in short, is that South Carolina will dominate. The game might get off to a slow start, but the outcome likely won’t remain in question. Bentley and Dowdle will settle into a rhythm and stay in it. Expect big numbers for the first time this season from the Gamecock offense, because Mizzou’s defense has allowed over 500 yards the last consecutive four games.

Mizzou has a lot less to play for than USC. If the Gamecocks pull off this win as Vegas believes they will, a bowl is only a win against Western Carolina away. The Tigers, on the other hand, have to win out to reach the six wins needed for bowl eligibility. With games remaining at South Carolina and Tennessee and versus Arkansas, it just ain’t looking likely.

Final score prediction: South Carolina 28, Missouri 7

 

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