Chick-fil-A Bowl: Keys to Victory

There are many different factors that will determine who wins the Chick-fil-A Bowl. There are a few keys that will lead the Gamecocks to victory over the Seminoles to give them their second 10-win season in school history.

1. Marcus Lattimore must rush for 80+ yards and a touchdown.

It's not hard to see that as Lattimore goes so goes the Gamecocks. In the four losses Lattimore is averaging just 57 yards per game. In the wins, he's averaging 108.

In the losses Lattimore has only rushed for three touchdowns, two of which came against Kentucky. In the last two losses to Arkansas and Auburn Lattimore did not score. In the wins Lattimore has rushed for 14 touchdowns, an average of 1.5 per game. If Lattimore reaches the end zone, the chances of a Gamecock victory rises.

2. Alshon Jeffery has 100 yards receiving.

Though Lattimore's success running the ball is the biggest indicator of a Gamecock victory, Jeffery's numbers aren't far behind. Jeffery has seven 100-yard receiving games this season. The Gamecocks are 6-1 in those games. The lone loss was the first Auburn game when Jeffery torched the Tiger secondary for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

The only three games the Gamecocks have won when Jeffery hadn't reached the 100-yard mark was the victories over Furman, Tennessee, and Florida. He had 97 against Furman, 87 against Tennessee, and 53 against Florida.

If Lattimore and Jeffery each have big games the Gamecocks will put a lot of points on the board and it will be up to the defense to hold the Seminoles.

3. Win the Turnover Battle

In a game with two evenly matched teams it usually comes down to turnovers. Like everything else between the two teams, turnovers are pretty even. South Carolina has turned the ball over 21 times this season, while Florida State has 22. If Stephen Garcia takes care of the ball and Lattimore continues his streak of not putting the ball on the ground the Gamecocks should be able to take care of the ball.

Defensively, if the defensive line can get a lot of pressure on Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel without having to use the linebackers and corner backs much on blitzes, they may be able to force the quarterbacks into some ill-advised passes that Carolina will hope to be able to hang on to.

4. Avoid the Big Plays

If there's one thing Gamecock fans have come to expect this season is that the secondary is going to give up a big play. The key is going to be limiting those mistakes and blown coverages. The secondary must stick to their assignments and rely on each other to do their job to avoid blown coverages. If Florida State is able to connect on several big plays it could be a long day for the Gamecock defense.

If Lattimore and Jeffery have good games, the Gamecocks take care of the ball while forcing some FSU turnovers, and if the secondary can have a good day the Gamecocks will beat the Seminoles.

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