With a defense that is struggling to find its way, allowing 31.4 points per game this season, South Carolina will come into Jordan-Hare Stadium looking to spring the upset behind a balanced offensive attack. Averaging 35.1 points and 450.9 yards of total offense per game this year, the Gamecocks will present a tough challenge for Ellis Johnson and the Auburn defense with quarterback Dylan Thompson and running back Mike Davis leading the way.
Taking over for the departed Connor Shaw, Thompson has been very solid for the Gamecocks in his redshirt senior season. Completing 61.3 percent of his passes for 1,839 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions, Shaw is averaging 31 attempts per game this year so Spurrier is giving him plenty of opportunities to attack a defense from the pocket.
While he doesn’t have a household name to throw to, Thompson has a very deep receiving corps at his disposal led by speedster Pharoh Cooper. He leads the team with 33 catches for 426 yards and four touchdowns. Nick Jones, Shaq Roland and Damiere Byrd are all major weapons on the perimeter with a combined eight touchdown catches. Without receiving tight end Rory Anderson because of a triceps injury the Gamecocks will likely lean more on Jerell Adams at the position.
Even though they are very capable through the air, the engine to South Carolina’s offense is on the ground behind Davis. A physical runner with the speed to make the big play, he has battled through injuries early in the season, but has still managed to run for 662 yards and eight touchdowns this year. Big Brandon Wilds is the top backup for the Gamecocks with 276 yards and one touchdown on 56 carries.
Up front on the offensive line the Gamecocks lean on a massive left side with tackle Corey Robinson (6-8, 344) and guard A.J. Cann (6-4, 311) the two most experienced players along the front five. Center Alan Knott (6-4, 280) is a redshirt freshman and the smallest of the group for the Gamecocks.
Dylan Thompson has played well for the Gamecocks this season
Defensively, it has been a rough season for South Carolina and it started out of the gate against Texas A&M when the Aggies shredded them for 52 points with Kenny Hill throwing over and around the Gamecocks all night long. Things haven’t gotten much better since then as the unit is giving up 181.7 yards per game on the ground and another 239.6 through the air.
Playing without Jadeveon Clowney has proven to be a big problem for the Gamecocks in the pass rush department so far in 2014. With just eight sacks as a team, South Carolina is tied for 114th in the country in that category. Leading the team with two is defensive end Gerald Dixon. Currently third on the team with 25 tackles, Dixon also leads the team with five tackles for losses and combines with fellow starting end Darius English as the only two defensive linemen averaging more than two tackles per game. The news could be even worse this week as top defensive tackle J.T. Surratt could be out or hampered because of a hamstring strain.
Weakside linebacker Skai Moore leads the team with 43 tackles and is very active for the Gamecocks as are a trio of players sharing time in the middle in Marcquis Roberts, T.J. Holloman and Kaiwan Lewis. With Moore checking in at just 6-2, 213 and Roberts at 6-1, 216, the Gamecocks will have a very small front seven on the field when you combine them with Spur Sharrod Golightly (5-10, 187. Despite his small stature, Golightly is fourth on the team in tackles and has one of the team’s four interceptions.
In the secondary veteran T.J. Gurley (5-10, 194) is a playmaker from his strong safety position. Second on the team with 42 tackles, he has added a sack, two tackles for losses, and a fumble recovery. Senior cornerback Brison Williams (5-11, 208) leads the team with five passes broken up and has one interception.
Kicker Elliot Fry is one of the best in the SEC, connecting on 12-13 field goals this season with his only miss coming from 54 yards in the season opener. He is a perfect 30-30 on extra-point attempts. Landon Ard handles the kickoff duties for the Gamecocks and has just 17 touchbacks in 36 attempts. Punter Tyler Hull averages 42.4 yards per attempt this season and has downed eight kicks inside the 20-yard line in seven games.
1 Damiere Byrd 5-9 170 SR-3L Sicklerville, N.J
. 4 Shaq Roland 6-1 176 JR-2L Lexington, S.C.
3 Nick Jones 5-7 168 SR-3L Moore, S.C.
8 Shamier Jeffery 6-1 198 JR-1L St. Matthews, S.C.
83 Carlton Heard 6-0 188 JR-SQ Athens, Ga.
53 Corey Robinson 6-8 344 SR-2L Havelock, N.C.
74 Mason Zandi 6-9 301 SO-1L Irmo, S.C.
50 A.J. Cann 6-4 311 SR-3L Bamberg, S.C.
69 D.J. Park 6-4 328 FR-RS Dillon, S.C.
65 Brock Stadnik 6-5 287 SO-1L Greensboro, N.C.
70 Alan Knott 6-4 280 FR-RS Tyrone, Ga.
54 Clayton Stadnik 6-3 273 SO-1L Greensboro, N.C.
75 Will Sport 6-5 291 JR-2L Milton, Fla.
or 51 Cody Waldrop 6-2 309 SO-1L Seffner, Fla.
71 Brandon Shell 6-6 333 JR-2L Goose Creek, S.C.
55 Na’Ty Rodgers 6-5 280 FR-RS Waldorf, Md.
81 Rory Anderson 6-5 227 SR-3L Powder Springs, Ga.
89 Jerell Adams 6-6 242 JR-2L Pinewood, S.C.
90 Cody Gibson 6-7 278 SR-3L Tallahassee, Fla.
17 Dylan Thompson 6-3 218 SR-3L Boiling Springs, S.C.
10 Perry Orth 6-1 204 SO-SQ Ponte Vedra, Fla.
or 6 Connor Mitch 6-3 211 FR-RS Raleigh, N.C.
41 Connor McLaurin 6-0 243 SR-2L Raleigh, N.C.
31 Jordan Diaz 6-1 236 SR-1L Hamilton, N.J.
28 Mike Davis 5-9 223 JR-2L Atlanta, Ga.
22 Brandon Wilds 6-2 230 JR-2L Blythewood, S.C.
33 David Williams 6-1 222 FR-RS Philadelphia, Pa.
7 Shon Carson 5-8 201 JR-1L Scranton, S.C.
44 Gerald Dixon 6-2 274 SO-1L Rock Hill, S.C.
34 Mason Harris 6-3 235 JR-2L Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
97 J.T. Surratt 6-2 310 SR-2L Winston-Salem, N.C.
99 Abu Lamin 6-4 302 SO-TR Fayetteville, N.C.
93 Deon Green 6-4 289 SO-SQ Windermere, Fla.
5 Darius English 6-6 241 SO-1L Powder Springs, Ga.
34 Mason Harris 6-3 235 JR-2L Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
21 Marcquis Roberts 6-1 216 SO-1L Powder Springs, Ga.
11 T.J. Holloman 6-2 234 SO-1L Stone Mountain, Ga.
8 Kaiwan Lewis 6-0 228 JR-2L Mays Landing, N.J.
10 Skai Moore 6-2 213 SO-1L Cooper City, Fla.
28 Jonathan Walton 6-0 228 SO-1L Daphne, Ala.
4 B. Allen-Williams 6-1 231 FR-HS Ellenwood, Ga.
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