September 22, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw (14) is brought down by Missouri Tigers linebacker Will Ebner (32) and Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Brad Madison (57) in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri South Carolina: Things to Watch

Happy homecoming weekend to all Tiger fans and alumni out there! I’m sure it has been a great weekend for all with the parades and festivities, but a win against South Carolina would make the weekend even sweeter. USC is a tough team with a strong line and running game, but suffered a tough loss last weekend against Tennessee. Missouri is rolling, ranked in the top five in the AP Poll and undefeated this season. Here are some things to watch about what should be a great game and hopefully another Tiger victory!

The trenches
This game could very well be defined in the trenches today. Both teams have really talented defensive lines and experienced offensive lines. Jadeveon Clowney is one of the best players in college football, and Michael Sam is no pushover either. Each team also loves to run the football, and imposing your will in the trenches really helps open up gaps in the line for your backs. Look for whoever wins the battle of the lines to win this game.

Lots of Mike Davis
Davis is South Carolina’s running back and has played well this year, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. With Dylan Thompson, SC’s backup QB, starting this ballgame, look for South Carolina to lean on Davis early and often to make the game easier for Thompson. He has big play ability and can take over this game if Mizzou cannot stop him early in the game and in long yardage situations.

Can Mauk repeat his successes?
Last week, Maty Mauk had a very good football game. But last week is past, and more will be expect of Mauk this week to win this football game. I expect Mauk to come out firing like he did against Florida, and to play better than he did last week as he gets more experience. Making his job tougher today will be Jadeveon Clowney and SC’s big line. They will get after the quarterback, bringing all kinds of blitzes into the mix to try to get the freshman off his game. Also watch for how Mauk handles the blitz and how he moves when flushed out of the pocket.

The key to this game for both teams comes down to turnovers. Missouri has excelled in the turnover column this year, ranking T-5 in the country in turnover margin. South Carolina checks in at 85 with a negative turnover margin. SC was -2 last week when they lost a heartbreaker to Tennessee as well. Turnovers are always important, but with two inexperienced quarterbacks and pretty evenly matched teams, they matter even more. Look for whoever wins the turnover battle to take home the “W” on Saturday night.

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Tags: Missouri Tigers Mizzou Football SEC South Carolina Gamecocks

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