The amount of intriguing games on this week’s slate is out of this world. However, nobody talks about South Carolina’s matchup against Mississippi State in an SEC showdown.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are much better than their 1-2 record to start the season.
Will they prove that on Saturday?
Take a look at the Mississippi State vs South Carolina preview for Saturday’s game on the SEC Network.
Date & Time:
Location: Williams-Brice Stadium
Mississippi State’s Players-Only Meeting
The Mississippi State Bulldogs couldn’t get stops on defense and rarely saw success on offense against LSU last weekend.
It was the Bulldog’s first SEC game of the year. It didn’t go as planned. LSU won that game, 41-14, allowing Jayden Daniels to complete over 88% of his passes while still throwing for over 300 yards.
Therefore, the team had another players-only meeting. The veterans on the team have done this weekly for the Bulldogs, hoping to ignite the team.
Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers talked about the meeting to the Clarion Ledger. He said the message was that it’s a new week heading into their game against South Carolina.
The team just wanted a reset. They agreed to learn from their mistakes against LSU and carry over better energy for their game against South Carolina.
Rogers explained that it was unacceptable with how they played against LSU, and the team wanted to get everything corrected before their game against South Carolina.
The veteran leaders spoke up.
That included Jaden Crumedy, who has been with the Bulldogs for six seasons. He acknowledged that the team has benefitted from those meetings. He said it’s a great way to connect and improve each week.
We’ll see what happens on Saturday. The college football odds aren’t favoring the Bulldogs in this one.
What Happened to South Carolina’s Running Game?
We know that the Gamecocks have one of the best quarterbacks in college football at their disposal. But that doesn’t excuse the Gamecocks for rushing the ball only 16 times against No. 1 Georgia last weekend.
South Carolina’s NCAAF player stats had Rattler leading the Gamecocks in rushing with eight carries for 35 yards.
Dakereon Joyner had five carries, Mario Anderson had two carries, and Xavier Legette had just one carry. The team combined for only 3.3 yards per carry.
Meanwhile, Rattler threw the ball 42 times and also had two interceptions.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains explained that many of their decisions in-game are based on practice. If guys practice well, they’ll get more playing time.
That means that none of the running backs looked even remotely good in practice before their bout against Georgia last weekend.
The fanbase would love to see Mario Anderson Jr. get more snaps in-game. He only added two carries for nine yards against Georgia.
Dowell agrees that Anderson has demonstrated the ability to create some stuff in the run game. But he hasn’t passed DK Joyner in the depth chart yet.
Joyner has rushed for 2.7 yards per carry, while Anderson has earned 5.1 yards per carry (on eight attempts).
Let’s take a look at the Mississippi State vs South Carolina preview with the odds below.
Mississippi State vs South Carolina Preview
The South Carolina Gamecocks are 6.5-point favorites at home against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday. The total for this game is 48.5.
The Bulldogs have only covered one of their first three games this season. They defeated Southeastern Louisiana, 48-7, as 31-point favorites. However, as nine-point favorites, the Bulldogs beat Arizona 31-24 in overtime. Most recently, Mississippi State lost to LSU as 9.5-point underdogs, 41-14.
That game was a wake-up call for the Bulldogs. Although the Over-hit in that game against LSU, the Under-hit in the previous two games for Mississippi State.
On the other hand, South Carolina has covered its last two games. The Gamecocks are now 2-1 against the spread this season, thanks to a +26 cover against Georgia last weekend.
South Carolina hung around against the best team in the nation on the road.
The Gamecocks have also watched the Under hit in two of the last three games.
South Carolina’s Better Than Its Record!
South Carolina has earned 357 yards in the air but only 53 yards on the ground to begin the season. The running game needs to step up. However, it’s unlikely that the Gamecocks will succeed much against Mississippi State against the run.
The Bulldogs have allowed 146 yards per game on the ground. But the run defense is playing better than those numbers indicate. A few missed tackles and big plays down the field will ruin the stats. However, Mississippi State has been better against the run this season.
It’s the pass rush that has been ineffective.
That’s big news for Spencer Rattler of South Carolina. Rattler has been under pressure in multiple games this season. He’s taken hit after hit. But against the Bulldogs, he has the chance to put up the same stats Jayden Daniels put up with LSU.
Therefore, you expect South Carolina to neglect the run for another week in this game.
The pass rush has been so bad for Mississippi State that the coverage has struggled to do its part. It’s an excellent secondary, but guys will still be open for the Gamecocks down the field when Rattler has time in the pocket.
On the other hand, Mississippi State has run the ball effectively, earning 179 yards on the ground per game. That run game will help dictate where the offense will be in the second half. However, the passing game needs to be more sharp. Rogers has thrown for 165.3 yards per game, while the running game has earned 179 yards.
That can’t happen. Not when you have a veteran quarterback like Rogers under center.
Therefore, we’ll take our chances with South Carolina at -6.5.