KICKOFF: Sarturday, noon ET
SITE: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
SERIES: South Carolina leads 39-7-3 (last meeting, 1990, Citadel 38-35)
RECORDS: Citadel 4-6, South Carolina 8-2
POLLS: South Carolina (No. 14 AP, No. 14 USA Today)
KEYS TO THE GAME:
-- For The Citadel: Play perfect. The Bulldogs will look to grind it out on the ground against South Carolina and can't waste scoring opportunities with mistakes. If the defense can make a couple of plays, it could keep the game from becoming the expected rout.
-- For South Carolina: Remain in lanes. The Citadel attempts to lull you to sleep with its triple-option attack, and if each defender doesn't stick to his assignment, it is an attack that can hit you with big plays. The Gamecocks must get their passing game going again.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS:
The Citadel will run the ball, then run some more with its triple-option attack. The Bulldogs have four backs with more than 300 yards rushing through their 10 games topped by sophomore B-Back Darien Robinson's 774. Sophomore QB Ben Dupree and freshman QB Aaron Miller have combined to throw only 68 passes, completing just 31 for 302 yards. They are still looking for their first touchdown pass.
Defensively, The Citadel is giving up nearly 160 yards rushing and 172 passing a game with its 4-2-5 scheme. The Bulldogs have picked off only five passes while getting to the quarterback for 18 sacks.
South Carolina has had little success passing the football in recent games, but has managed to continue to pick up big yardage on the ground despite the loss of All-America TB Marcus Lattimore. Freshman Brandon Wilds has picked up more than 100 rushing yards in two of the three games he has started since taking over the starting position. Even more impressive has been the ability of QB Connor Shaw to pick up yards on the ground. He rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and is third on the team in rushing with 286 yards and five touchdowns.
Following a disappointing outing against Arkansas, South Carolina's defense returned in a big way against Florida, holding the Gators to 261 yards of total offense. The Gamecocks limited Florida to one touchdown and got to QB John Brantley for three sacks. They had 11 tackles-for-losses and held the Gators to 119 passing yards. The Gamecocks have faced one triple-option in Navy and after struggling during the first half against the Midshipmen, they were solid during the second half.
Bulldogs: The Citadel has lost its last two games to Georgia Southern and Samford by a total of seven points after routing Western Carolina and Virginia Military by a combined 55 points the previous two games. ... This is the Bulldogs' only game against an FBS opponent this season. ... Citadel is rushing for over 291 yards a game with its triple-option scheme. That ranks third in the country but only No. 2 in the Southern Conference behind leader Georgia Southern, which runs for just over 320 yards a game. ... The Bulldogs are throwing for under 35 yards a game, the lowest output passing among 120 FCS teams. That's 15 yards a game under the total for Army, which is at the bottom of the rankings in passing yards per game among FBS members. ... The Bulldogs average only seven pass attempts and three completions a game. ... No Bulldog receiver is in double digits in receptions. The team leader is WR Greg Adams with nine catches.
Gamecocks: This is the first meeting between the in-state schools since 1990, when The Citadel claimed a 38-35 win over Carolina. The Gamecocks had dominated the series prior to that, winning nine straight. ... South Carolina has won 11 of its last 12 games against SEC East Division competition and is 6-0 against SEC East rivals Tennessee, Georgia and Florida over the last two seasons. But the Gamecocks will be sitting by and hoping Kentucky upsets Georgia this weekend so they can get into the SEC championship game. They have finished their conference schedule with a 6-2 record and will hold the tiebreaker over Georgia should the 6-1 Bulldogs lose to the Wildcats. South Carolina beat Georgia back on the second weekend of the season. ... Junior WR Alshon Jeffery (172 receptions for 2,784 yards) passed Kenny McKinley's school record of 2,781 receiving yards in last week's win over Florida. Jeffery ranks second behind McKinley in career receptions (207). He needs three touchdown catches to tie Sidney Rice on the school's all-time list at 23.... Sophomore QB Connor Shaw is 5-1 as a starter this season, with victories over East Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Florida, and a loss at Arkansas. He became just the third Gamecock quarterback since 1971 to start his career with four straight wins, joining Steve Taneyhill (1992) and Chris Smelley (2007).
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
LB Rod Harland -- The senior leads the team in tackles with 94. He had 23 earlier this year against Wofford, a Southern Conference high.
B-Back Darien Robinson -- A sophomore, Robinson has rushed for a team-best 774 yards and has topped the 100-yard mark in three games. He has 176 yards on only 31 carries in his last two games.
DT Derek Douglas -- Douglas has only 39 total tackles, but nearly a third of them (12.5) have been for losses, which is a team high in the category.
QB Connor Shaw -- The sophomore has played courageously since taking over as the Gamecocks' starter. The team is 4-1 with him at the helm. More than through the air, however, he has done it with his legs, as he is USC's third leading rusher.
WR Alshon Jeffery -- Although he holds virtually every receiving record in South Carolina history, through no fault of his own, this has been his least productive season. He enters Saturday's game with 38 catches for 504 yards and five touchdowns despite facing gimmick defenses virtually every week. Needing three receiving touchdowns to tie Sidney Rice for most career scores, this could be Jeffery's breakout week.
DT Travian Robertson -- The fifth-year senior does not get the attention of some of his teammates on the defensive line. He has had a solid campaign and served as a team leader. He is coming off a four-tackle performance, including two for loss and a game-ending sack against Florida that earned him Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week honors.
Dominic Jones (shoulder, probable), Dalton Trevino (undisclosed, questionable).
FS D.J. Swearinger (foot, probable), SS DeVone Holloman (concussion, probable).
GAME DAY: Gamecocks vs. Bulldogs
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