South Carolina is back at Williams-Brice once again to end a long homestand. The Gamecocks, coming off a big win against Tennessee, have started to get the ball rolling at the right time.
Missouri comes to town Saturday (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network) and we take a look at five keys for the Gamecocks:
1. One game at a time
So South Carolina is two games away from bowl eligibility, but don’t tell the Gamecocks that. The topic of conversation now becomes keeping focused on one game at a time. It’s easy to get ahead on things after a big victory, such as South Carolina’s win against Tennessee. But that’s a thing of the past and Missouri is now coming to town.
What happens Nov. 5 will impact what happens after the season for the Gamecocks, but what happens Nov. 5 matters first and foremost.
2. Run, Rico, run
South Carolina posted its first back-to-back games with more than 100 yards rushing for the first time since mid-2015. Why? Look at No. 23, Rico Dowdle.
The freshman has sparked the Gamecocks on the ground, averaging almost 15 carries per game in his four games. He is coming off his first 100-yard game in his career.
He is going to keep getting more opportunities to run the ball. This time, it’s against the nation’s No. 119 run defense that is missing some players.
3. No turnovers
Jake Bentley has done a lot of things well since taking over as the starting quarterback. Of those, not throwing an interception might be the most impressive.
South Carolina is plus-5 in turnover margin since Bentley took over, forcing seven and losing two – both fumbles against Massachusetts.
If the freshman keeps this up, South Carolina will be tough to beat.
4. Don’t fall victim
Missouri ranks No. 21 in the nation in total offense, a deceiving statistic.
The Tigers put up huge numbers against Middle Tennessee State, Delaware State and Eastern Michigan, buoying their overall numbers thanks to more than 600 yards in each of those outings.
The numbers in SEC play are a little more telling, as Missouri is averaging 371 yards per game. Quarterback Drew Lock, however, still is dangerous.
5. Home sweet home
South Carolina has been playing well lately, especially in the past two weeks. Could it be a byproduct of so many home games in a row? Will Muschamp thought part of the success comes from his team being different at home.
So here it is for South Carolina: The final home game in a run of five straight. The Gamecocks can leave this stretch with a 3-2 record, which is good all things considered (see: starting three different quarterbacks in a month).