Missouri at South Carolina
When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 6, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C., noon EDT.
Missouri tries again for its first conference win of the season as it faces South Carolina on Saturday in a clash of East Division teams in the SEC.
The Tigers (3-1, 0-1 SEC) were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 43-29 home loss to No. 2 Georgia on Sept. 22. It is the third straight year they have started SEC play with a loss, and now Missouri looks to avoid its third consecutive 0-2 start to conference life.
Tigers offense looks to regroup after being stifled by Bulldogs
Missouri’s potent offense was largely held in check by Georgia. The Tigers did finish with 393 yards and had 172 on the ground, but quarterback Drew Lock was held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season.
It ended a 12-game streak in which Lock — who threw 11 TD passes in Missouri’s 3-0 start — had at least two scoring tosses. While he was able to help the Tigers keep pace with the Bulldogs in the second half, a poor second quarter in which he lost a fumble and had a pass intercepted proved too much to overcome.
“We spotted them 14 points,” Missouri coach Barry Odom told The Associated Press. “Defensively, we did some good things. Was it good enough? No, because we didn’t win the game.”
Despite the loss, Lock remains one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. He has thrown for 1,283 yards and 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions while completing 62.7 percent of his passes. The senior signal-caller was handcuffed versus Georgia in some respect as top receiver Emanuel Hall was severely limited with a groin injury and failed to make a catch.
When Hall is on his game — he has 18 catches for 430 yards and three TDs — Missouri’s pass offense becomes dynamic. Lock has spread the wealth as six players have at least 10 receptions and a touchdown catch, with freshman Jalen Knox making an instant impact with 10 catches for 169 yards.
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) September 16, 2018
Dating back to last season, the Tigers have won four consecutive road games. That comes on the heels of an 11-game skid outside Missouri that included a 31-21 loss at South Carolina on Nov. 5, 2016, in which Lock threw for 302 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Gamecocks hope return home provides boost
South Carolina (2-2, 1-2 East) has alternated wins and losses in its four games and is coming off a 24-10 loss at then-No. 17 Kentucky last Saturday.
The Gamecocks could not overcome four turnovers — three of them interceptions by Jake Bentley — as they allowed three touchdowns in a 9:28 span of the second quarter. South Carolina did not score its lone touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter when Bentley hooked up with Deebo Samuel on a 58-yard pass.
“Overall we have to be better, but I put a lot on myself,” said Bentley, who has been picked off six times while throwing seven touchdown passes. “There’s a lot of plays I could have done better. I don’t know what it was, wish I did, but I can go back and watch the films to really dissect it.”
The loss essentially killed off South Carolina’s chances to win the division given both its defeats came to East co-leaders Georgia and Kentucky. Coach Will Muschamp lamented his team’s lack of discipline with regards to penalties — the Gamecocks committed 11 for 94 yards — and in run defense as the Wildcats pounded them for 221 yards on the ground.
Bentley did surpass 5,000 passing yards in the defeat, but South Carolina has only been as effective as its run game. In the two victories, the Gamecocks churned out 536 rushing yards as Rico Dowdle, Ty’Son Williams and A.J. Turner have totaled 564 yards on the season among them, In the two defeats, though, Muschamp’s team has been held to 182 yards on 55 carries.
South Carolina is:
- 1-4 ATS in its last five home games vs. teams with a winning road record.
- 1-4-1 ATS in its last six games after allowing fewer than 170 passing yards in its previous game.
- The under is 9-0 in its last nine games as a home favorite between 0.5 and 3.0 points.
- The under is 10-2 in its last 12 games vs. above-.500 teams.
- The under is 13-3 in its last 16 games as a favorite between 0.5 and 3.0 points.
- 6-1 ATS in its last seven games vs. SEC teams.
- 10-3 ATS in its last 13 games.
- 7-2 ATS in its last nine games following an ATS win.
- The under is 4-1 in its last five games as a road underdog between 0.5 and 3.0 points.
- The under is 6-0 in its last six games vs. South Carolina.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
So far, the Tigers have had one bad half of the eight they played. It, however, proved costly against one of the best teams in the country in Georgia. Missouri has a potent offense, but it also needs Hall to be closer to 100 percent than he was against the Bulldogs got Lock and Missouri to realize its full potential.
That has not happened in either game against the Gamecocks, though, as Lock has been picked off four times while throwing just two touchdown passes. He staked the Tigers to a 10-0 lead last year before South Carolina roared back behind Samuel’s 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and 25-yard scoring dash for a 31-13 victory.
Where the Tigers can set themselves apart in this game, though, is with their run defense. Missouri has allowed just 102.2 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. Bentley, though, has been effective in leading South Carolina to a pair of wins over the Tigers, throwing for 441 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
The hedge here, though, is Missouri gets back on track offensively by Lock cleaning things up, and the defense does well to contain both Bentley and Samuel.
Prediction: Pick: Missouri +2.5 (-115)
Full-Game Total Pick
These teams have not surpassed 52 points in any of the six meetings since Missouri joined the SEC in 2012 and have played in a band between 41 and 52 points in the three games at South Carolina. The Tigers have looked very ordinary in their losses when their running game does not click and may not have the offensive firepower to keep up with Lock if they fail to force turnovers.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 62 points (-110)
Half-Time Side Pick
With the exception of its loss to Georgia, Missouri has lead at halftime in its other three games — including its win at Purdue. The Gamecocks have kept to the season patter of alternating — leading at halftime in their wins and trailing in their losses — but Missouri should have enough offense to eke out a slim lead after two quarters.
Prediction: Pick: Missouri -0.5 points (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
When Missouri’s offense clicks, the Tigers have been part of shootouts in which they had first-half totals of 51 and 45 points. South Carolina has been in a band ranging from 27 to 34 points in its four games, making the over a better play given Missouri’s offense.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 33 points