Five predictions: Mississippi State edition

Over the course of the season, I will be making five predictions for each of the South Carolina football games. Some may be bold, some may be safe, some may be right on target. This week we take a look at the South Carolina's game at Mississippi State

1. Defensive line dominates

The South Carolina defense is tied with LSU for first in the SEC with 13 sacks. Melvin Ingram, who leads the SEC with 5.5 sacks and Jadeveon Clowney, who is tied with Auburn's Corey Lemonier for second with four sacks, lead the Gamecock defense. Only Vanderbilt and Kentucky have given up more sacks. Meanwhile, MSU has given up 14 sacks, tenth in the SEC. Advantage South Carolina.

2. Encore for Shaw

Connor Shaw made himself known in his first legitimate college start against Kentucky last week. Now he must take the show on the road for the first. Though he led two fourth quarter drives last season at Auburn, it's not the same as having the reigns for an entire four quarters. The cowbells will certainly be loud to try and rattle the sophomore quarterback, but he must keep his composure. Though MSU is giving up practically the same amount of passing yards per game as Kentucky, I don't see Shaw putting up the same type of numbers. What I do expect from Shaw is a well-managed game, giving his team a chance to win and not losing the game for the team.

3. 20 should do it

Mississippi State is averaging 26 points per game this season, while the Gamecocks are giving up 20 per game. However, in the last three games Carolina has only given up an average of seven per game. Even though two of the three were against the worst scoring teams in the conference, the Gamecock defense did what they were supposed to do; dominate. South Carolina held Auburn to 11 points under their season average, Vanderbilt 17 points under their average, and Kentucky 10 points under their average. The Carolina defense will hold MSU to under 20 points, meaning 20 points by the offense will do it.

4. Does Lattimore break slump?

The last three games for Marcus Lattimore have not been terrible games. They've not been Marcus Lattimore games though. Lattimore has rushed for just 245 yards and two touchdowns in the last three games, well below his averages the first three games. Lattimore did finally break 100 yards last week for the first time since the Navy game, which is no coincidence that it was the same game the passing game got going. If Shaw can loosen up the defense through the air and the offensive line block well - something they haven't done even when the opponent wasn't stacking the box - then Lattimore should have a good day. I expect Lattimore to get back on track, rushing for 130 yards and two scores.

5. Turn the ball over

South Carolina is tied for first in the nation in forcing turnovers with 22. Mississippi State, is fourth in the conference with only eight turnovers on the season, just over one per game. The South Carolina defense needs to set the offense up with some good field position. If the Gamecocks can force two turnovers inside MSU territory, the chance of a Gamecock win is high. Carolina forces three turnovers in a 24-13 win.

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