Monday, December 22, 2014
South Carolina offense vs. Iowa defense
No SEC team averages fewer rushing yards per game than South Carolina (98.3 ypg) and RB Mike Davis hasn't rushed for 100 yards in a game since the season-opener. Don't expect Davis and the Gamecocks to put up big rushing numbers in this game, either, as Iowa's run defense has been one of the stingiest in the FBS (98.3 ypg). Hawkeyes DTs Matt Kroul and Mitch King make up for their lack of prototypical size with quickness and effort. They should be disruptive working against South Carolina's interior offensive linemen and the Gamecocks will have a difficult time covering up Iowa's leading tackler, MLB Pat Angerer, as a result. In addition, DE's Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard are stout and they do a nice job of setting the edge so Davis should have a difficult time turning the corner as well. One of the reasons Davis and the running game have sputtered is the lack of a consistent passing attack, as South Carolina QBs Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley have both been erratic. Garcia is a bigger threat to scramble when nothing is available downfield and he's done a better job of taking care of the football. In fact, Smelly threw four interceptions against Clemson in the regular season finale. However, Garcia is just a redshirt freshman and he's still learning the offense so he has some problems locating the open man. Making matters worse, a Hawkeyes pass defense that has intercepted 20 passes has playmakers capable of turning a mistake into a turnover. That said, there are two reasons to be optimistic about the Gamecocks' ability to move the ball though the air in this game. The first is that Iowa is going to have a difficult time matching up with South Carolina WR Kenny McKinley and TE Jared Cook. The second is that while the Gamecocks have been leaky in pass protection the Hawkeyes haven't had much success getting to the quarterback, either.
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