KICKOFF: Saturday, noon ET
SITE: Williams-Brice Stadium
TV: SEC Network
SERIES: South Carolina leads 2-0 (last meeting, 2005, South Carolina 45-20)
RECORDS: Troy 5-4; South Carolina 7-3
POLLS: South Carolina (17 AP, 17 USA Today)
PREDICTION: South Carolina 45-17
KEYS TO THE GAME:
-- For Troy: Play better defense. The offense needs to get the ball to Jerrel Jernigan as much as possible and minimize the mistakes. Perhaps most important, the Trojans need to shake off last week's loss to FIU that knocked them from the Sun Belt Conferece lead.
-- For South Carolina: Lattimore. Lattimore. Lattimore. The Gamecocks are going to ride the freshman RB Marcus Lattimore and see how far he takes them. On defense, USC must find a way to build on the performance against the Gators by limiting Troy's passing game.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS:
-- Troy's offense made too many mistakes against FIU but got no help from the defense. The Trojans were way behind early, putting too much pressure on freshman redshirt QB Corey Robinson to bring them back. FIU was also able to keep WR Jerrel Jernigan in check and kept him from breaking big plays.
Last week's numbers say it all. The Trojans gave up 668 total yards and allowed a shocking 448 on the ground. Three Florida International backs ran for over 100 yards. Troy's defense has had some bad moments this season, but it rock bottom last week. The defensive players need to have some sense of pride to be better this week.
South Carolina is coming off one of its most dominating games, rushing for 239 yards and four touchdowns on 54 attempts, while QB Stephen Garcia completed 15 of 22 passes for 156 yards. The Gamecocks did not have a turnover. Shouldering the brunt of the responsibility was freshman TB Marcus Lattimore, who set a USC record for single-game rushing attempts with 40. He gained 212 yards and scored three touchdowns. Coach Steve Spurrier plans more of the same against Troy, as the team has been virtually unstoppable when Lattimore leads the team statistically.
Following a disappointing performance against Arkansas, South Carolina's defense was on fire against Florida, not allowing an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter. The Gators managed only 35 rushing yards and 226 total yards. Through three quarters, Florida had run only 28 plays and gained a meager 67 yards. The Gamecocks picked up two turnovers, giving them 16 on the season.
Trojans: Among the many things that made history against the Trojans was T.Y. Hilton's 80-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for FIU. The run marked the first time an opponent had run for more than 80 yards on a single play against the Trojans since Western Kentucky's Stephen Willis went 86 yards on Nov. 10, 2007. ... Troy gave up 31 points in the second quarter against Troy, the most in one period in coach Larry Blakeney's 20 years as head coach. ... WR Jerrel Jernigan is making both Troy's record book and the Sun Belt's record book his personal property. The senior has set a Troy record for receiving yards in a career (2,922) and in the conference for receptions in career (236). ... CB Kejuan Phillips, a sophomore, made his second career start against FIU. ... LG Kyle Wilborn started for the fifth straight game in place of Jacob Creech (shoulder).
Gamecocks: South Carolina had three sacks against Florida, giving it a school-record 35 for the season. That ranks third nationally and first in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks are averaging 3.5 sacks per game. ... Sophomore DE Devin Taylor leads all Gamecocks with 7.5 sacks, and reserve DE/DT Melvin Ingram has seven. They rank 15th in tackles for loss with an average of 7.3 per encounter. ... QB Stephen Garcia is poised to continue to move up the career passing yards chart. He enters Saturday's game with 5,915 yards, which rank fourth on the Gamecocks' all-time list. He needs 78 yards against Troy to move past Blake Mitchell and into third place. ... With 16 touchdowns, RB Marcus Lattimore needs five more scores to claim the all-time single-season record for a Southeastern Conference freshman. Former Tennessee TB Reggie Cobb holds the standard with 20. ... CB C.C. Whitlock returned to action as a reserve against Florida. He had two tackles. He will play against Troy, but as a reserve.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Corey Robinson -- Robinson, a redshirt freshman, has thrown 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but he hasn't been on top of his game of late. Robinson has thrown nine interceptions in the last four games. Troy is 2-2 in those games. Robinson is trying to force things more than he did in the first five games and make plays that aren't always there.
DE Jonathan Massaquoi -- He called the loss to FIU embarrassing and he's right. He also said the Trojans have to regroup, another accurate statement. Massaquoi is one of the team's leaders and he must show it in the remaining games on the schedule. He has 56 tackles, good for third on the team. Massaquoi has made 14.5 tackles that have resulted in a loss of yardage. He also has 9.5 sacks, has recovered three fumbles and forced another.
LB Xavier Lamb -- The defense needs a few more just like him. Lamb leads the team in tackles with 63. He was also one of the few defensive players to actually show up against FIU. He led the team with 11 tackles, including nine solo stops. Lamb also had two tackles that resulted in loss of yardage, including a sack.
CB Marty Markett -- The walk-on played well enough in his first start of the season, in place of C.C. Whitlock, who also played but was limited due to a concussion sustained the week before, to earn another one against Troy. The former track star missed a few assignments and did a good job in pass coverage.
OT Kyle Nunn -- The junior had a strong performance starting in place of senior LT Jarriel King, who missed the game with a concussion. With King again questionable, Nunn will get another start against Troy.
RB Marcus Lattimore -- As the top-rated running back recruit, according to many recruiting services, Lattimore has not only lived up to the hype, but surpassed it. Despite missing a game due to injury, he enters the Troy encounter needing just 36 yards to top the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his first collegiate campaign.
QB Jamie Hampton (leg, out), LG Jacob Creech (shoulder, doubtful).
LT Jarriel King (concussion, day-to-day), DE Chaz Sutton (hand, day-to-day).