Missouri Looks For First Win Over South Carolina Since 2015

Jackson Meyer, Reporter

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The Mayor’s Cup: ever since Missouri entered the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 2012, South Carolina has always played Missouri tough. It seems no matter what each team’s resume looks like, when the teams meet, you can throw the resumes out of the window because it’s going to be a dogfight every game until the final whistle. Unfortunately, Missouri has been on the short end of the stick ever since 2015 when  Missouri knocked off the Gamecocks 24-10 at home in Drew Lock’s first career start as a Tiger. 

But Missouri has not seen much success versus South Carolina  at home in recent years. In 2013, Missouri lost an absolute heart breaker after kicker Andrew Baggett hit the upright to tie the game in double overtime. Missouri went on to go 12-2 that year. In 2017, the Tigers would lose yet again, 31-13, in a beat-down. Now Missouri has the chance to avenge themselves and to finally beat the team who has had their number for the past three seasons. How can they do that? Here are the three keys to the game that if executed, will let the Tigers finally take the cup back from the other Columbia.

 

  1. The first thing that Missouri needs to do is establish the run game. Week one in Laramie, we saw how much of an impact it can have on the offensive side of the ball if the run game is going nowhere. Against Wyoming, the offense came to a halt as a unit once the ability to run the ball stopped, and also were able to see how good the offense can be if the run game does indeed dominate. It opens up things for Kelly Bryant in terms of play-action and it takes off a lot of pressure from him as well. If Missouri can establish themselves at the line, that’s just one piece of the puzzle for the Tigers to put in place for a long-awaited win. 
  2. The next big thing that Missouri will have to do to win this game is to contain promising freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski. Hiliniski started the season as the backup to Jake Bentley until the first week of the season after Bentley suffered a foot injury versus North Carolina. Gamecocks’ head coach Will Muschamp stated that Bentley will be out for an “extended period of time.” Ever since the Bentley injury, Hilinkski has shown potential and has given good reason to be kept as the starter, even if Bentley does make a return. Last week against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Hilinski went 36/57 and 324 yards and two touchdowns as well as one interception to go with it. Those numbers are impressive as it is, but once you realize that he did that against the 2nd ranked team in the nation, it makes it all the more impressive. Missouri will have to figure out a way to contain Hilinski and, if so, they can force the Gamecocks to have a one- dimensional offense. 
  1. The last point of emphasis for the Tigers will be that they must win the turnover battle. Similar to the ground game, the turnover importance showcased its importance throughout the season already. Against Wyoming, the Tigers forced zero turnovers and had three themselves and it proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Unlike week one versus Wyoming, in week two versus West Virginia, Missouri did the exact opposite and won the turnover battle by three and cruised to a victory 38-7. If the Tigers can find a way to win the turnover battle, I don’t see a reason as to why they will not win this game.

Missouri has a great chance to end a three game losing skid against a tough team.They have the talent, and it will all come down to if Missouri coach Barry Odom can assemble a good game plan to get the team ready for their toughest test of the season yet. If Missouri is able to win, it’ll give the team confidence and will hopefully help in having an undefeated record from here on out going into Athens. Missouri will play at 3:00 p.m. and look to open the season 3-1.

 

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