South Carolina Gamecocks: Three Things to Watch Against Ole Miss

The South Carolina Gamecocks head to the Grove this weekend to play the Ole Miss Rebels. The game is scheduled for an 11 am kickoff at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

South Carolina is 4-3 (3-3 SEC) on the year. The Rebels are 5-3 (1-3 SEC).

Can the Gamecocks keep up the momentum from last week’s win?

THREE KEYS TO WATCH

YOUNG SECONDARY

The South Carolina Gamecocks young secondary will be tested early and often. Senior QB Jordan Ta’amu has been rock solid this season. Ta’amu enters Saturday completing 64% of his passes for 2622 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The fast-paced attack includes some of the best receivers in the SEC. The Rebels will be without D.K. Metcalf because of a neck injury. They also may be missing tight end, Dawson Knox. However, they still have A.J. Brown and DaMarkus Lodge. Both of those players will be on NFL rosters next year.

This will be a test for the backend of the Carolina defense. Freshman corner Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu are in for a trial by fire. Horn has played significant snaps. Mukuamu has started playing more with Keisean Nixon struggling.  Another freshman, R.J. Roderick, has also seen his snaps increase.

The return of edge rusher D.J. Wonnum last week can only help. He and Bryson Allen-Williams will need to pressure Ta’amu to alleviate the strain on the young secondary.

CONTROL THE CLOCK

It is no big secret. The Ole Miss offense can score a ton of points. However, their defense is one of the worst in the nation. The Rebels currently surrender 34.6 points a game. The South Carolina Gamecocks need to once again lean on the ground game.

Feed Rico Dowdle, Tyson Williams, Mon Denson, and a returning A.J. Turner. Let them grind out yards and the clock. Keep the Ole Miss offense off of the field.

QUEST FOR A BOWL BID

I didn’t think the Gamecocks would still be seeking bowl eligibility at this point in the year. But here we are. If the Gamecocks knock off Ole Miss, they will inevitably get the sixth win over Chattanooga on 11/17. If they lose to the Rebs, it will get dicey.

South Carolina travels to Florida next week and then will play Clemson after the UTC game. While I think the Gamecocks can beat Florida, they have almost no shot at the Tigers. A loss to Ole Miss, Florida, and Clemson will then leave them with the makeup game.

No one knows at this point who that opponent will be. The only thing we know is the date. It will have to be a team that isn’t playing in a conference championship game. In my opinion, the top candidate at this point may be the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

How do you feel about the South Carolina Gamecocks matchup with Ole Miss? Let us know in the comments!

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