As the Missouri Tigers prepare for kickoff against South Carolina in less than an hour, we have our picks for this evening’s game.
The Tigers opened with a game that was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. It was exciting to see the Tigers offense go up and down the field seemingly at will, but scary, because the secondary was lit up like a Christmas tree by an FCS program.
This matchup features two of the best young quarterbacks in the SEC. While Drew Lock is a junior, he is just 20 years old. Not to be outdone, South Carolina brings in Jake Bentley, who is only 19 and entering his first full year as the Gamecocks’ starter.
Even though they put up less than half the points of the Tigers, one cannot say that South Carolina’s week one win was not more impressive, as the Gamecocks defeated favored NC State, 35-28, while wide receiver Samuel Deebo caught two of Bentley’s three touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
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After the laughable performance from the Missouri secondary, I can only imagine that South Carolina’s duo is licking their chops, especially if the Mizzou defensive line does not improve on their lackluster performance from last week.
On the flip side, NC State’s Ryan Finley threw for 416 yards last week against the Gamecocks (though he threw 64 passes with 45 completions). The Wolfpack had 29 first downs to SC’s 12.
All that to say, this figures to be another game where both teams light up the scoreboard.
Who will make that crucial stop? At this point, the team more likely to do so looks to be South Carolina. But where I think this game will be won or lost is the kicking game. Mizzou had some problems there last week and I think a missed field goal will prove to be costly in this one.
Final: South Carolina 40, Mizzou 38
I’d like to forget last week’s game, at least on defense. I’d also like to see the Tigers turn around what was as poor of a defensive performance as the many we saw last year, but I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation, right now.
The good news for Missouri, is South Carolina’s defense is also fairly young, and is coming off a game in which they allowed more than 400 yards of total offense to NC State.
I think that both defenses will even each other out. As a result, we will see both offenses fall to earth from last week’s statistics. It will still be a high-scoring game, as far as FBS games can go, but it won’t be more than 80 points combined.
I think Missouri’s offense will wear down South Carolina’s defense, and since quarterback Drew Lock has a couple years’ experience on Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley, will master a come from behind win (if needed), as Missouri remains undefeated.
Final: Missouri 42, South Carolina 38