South Carolina vs. Missouri College Football Pick: Gamecocks' D to Struggle

David Lawrence

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 12:51 PM GMT

The South Carolina Gamecocks and Missouri Tigers are off to subpar starts this season. They have both lost to Kentucky and have very dim prospects in terms of being able to do anything beyond making a third-rate bowl game. These teams were both in January bowl games at the end of the 2013 season, but they’re falling toward the lower half of the SEC East division right now. These are tough times, and so a win is desperately needed on both ends of this contest.

Momentum
The Gamecocks didn’t lose last week, but the team they beat was a UCF squad which lost at home to both Florida International and Furman. South Carolina struggled for most of the first three quarters before picking up the pieces and getting the job done in the final 20 minutes. The difference was the insertion of freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, who relieved an ineffective Perry Orth, who had been filling in for the team’s original (opening night) starting quarterback, Connor Mitch. Nunez and wide receiver Pharoh Cooper sparked the offense and led the turnaround which brought about the victory. However, struggling to beat UCF at home is hardly a sign that things are turning in the right direction. South Carolina’s defense has been below average, as has the offense. It’s a team with no shining strength, and a lot of underlying weaknesses.

Missouri has played two straight awful games, and in its most recent one, the Tigers got burned. Missouri won on Sept. 19 over Connecticut, but the score was 9-6. The Tigers scored only one time on offense, getting a touchdown in addition to a safety. One might have felt that Missouri would regroup and get better against Kentucky, but that didn’t really happen. A mere 13 points represented barely any improvement on offense. Quarterback Maty Mauk struggled, and he also aggravated a shoulder injury that’s mentioned below in the injury report. On top of that, the team suspended him for Saturday’s game because of disciplinary reasons. The defense is okay, but it allowed Kentucky to convert a majority of third downs. That can’t happen again versus South Carolina if the Tigers are going to win.

 

Line Moves
The college football odds started at minus-3.5 points for Missouri, but has gone up to four. As many injuries as Missouri has, South Carolina is not better off, and the Gamecocks have generally played worse than the Tigers have so far. Missouri’s not great, but South Carolina’s been struggling even more.

Notable Injuries
South Carolina is still going to be without its original number one quarterback this season, Connor Mitch, with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Jerad Washington is out for the season with a leg injury. Center Cody Waldrop is out for the year with an ankle injury. Defensive back Chris Lammons is questionable for this game with a rib injury. Center Alan Knott is questionable for this game with an ankle injury. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel is questionable with a hamstring injury. Running back Brandon Wilds is questionable with a rib injury.

Missouri has wide receiver DeSean Blair listed as highly unlikely to play this game due to a concussion. Quarterback Maty Mauk is listed as probable for this game with a shoulder injury. Offensive tackle Nate Crawford is expected to miss this game with an ankle injury. Linebacker Kentrell Brothers is questionable with an ankle injury. Halfback Russell Hansbrough is probable for this game with an ankle injury. Tight end Sean Culkin will be out with a knee injury. Backup running back Morgan Steward is out for the season with a hip injury.

 

Handicapping The Game
South Carolina’s defense is not as good as Missouri’s. Both offenses are going to struggle, but Missouri can shut down South Carolina. The same can’t be said for the Gamecocks against Missouri’s offense. Take the Tigers with your college football picks here. The loss of Mauk might seem significant but remember that he had completed just 51.8% of his passes so far with six touchdowns and four interceptions. Freshman Drew Lock has appeared in all four games and this should be a good spot where he gets eased in.

Free College Football Pick: Missouri -4 at Bodog

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