Missouri has outscored its opponents 119-45 this year, but South Carolina should be the toughest contest so far this season.
South Carolina is a team that has typically played well against Missouri over the past few years. This year should be no different as the Gamecocks are coming off of a tough loss to Alabama.
On paper, this should be an intriguing matchup, but Missouri is 2-5 against South Carolina since it joined the SEC, including three consecutive losses to the Gamecocks.
Missouri Tigers Football
While Missouri’s defense will have its hands full with a team averaging 500 yards per game, including a whopping 459 against Alabama, the offense must execute in order for the Tigers to win at home.
In two weeks, Missouri scored 88 points (38 against West Virginia, 50 against SEMO), yet South Carolina has only allowed 81 all season.
There isn’t anything special about the Gamecock defense. They allow 440 yards per game, 311 through the air and 129 on the ground.
This matchup is boom or bust for Mizzou, and the outcome relies heavily on Kelly Bryant. However, the air game isn’t all the Tigers should focus on.
1.) Be prepared to pass
Bryant hasn’t been as bad of a passer this season, and it is that area where the Gamecocks defense is worst. If South Carolina comes into the game trying to shut down the run and succeeds, it will be up to Bryant to lead the Tigers with his arm.
If he can pass efficiently, that should open the ground game more, thus giving Missouri freedom with offensive play-calling.
2.) Get Bryant involved in the run game
If South Carolina is committed to stopping the run, mixing up the play-calling could still allow the Tigers to run effectively. Bryant only has 26 rushing yards this season, but he has proved his skill as a runner.
Larry Rountree III is great as a downhill runner who can burst through open holes, and Tyler Badie has excelled with his touches this year, but Bryant’s playmaking with his legs can single handedly shift momentum.
Mizzou’s best chance is to keep South Carolina guessing on defense and denying them of any comfort.
3.) Get Johnathon Johnson touches
Yes, he does lead the team in receptions but he only has 97 yards this year. The Tigers could set up screen plays or quick passes for Johnson or even hand the ball off to him directly. Like Bryant, he is a dynamic playmaker who can alter games with one play.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Jalen Knox, and Jonathan Nance have been great deep threats and that should continue. However, getting the ball in Johnson’s hands underneath will keep the Gamecocks guessing.