GAMECOCKS: Mizzou's tempo offense becomes latest test for USC defense

GAMECOCKS: Mizzou's tempo offense becomes latest test for USC defense

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - On paper, the numbers Missouri offense put up in their Week 1 matchup jump off the stat sheets. Literally.

Seeing the Tigers put up 72 points and more than 800 yards on offense against Missouri State had college football fans and players questioning if those numbers were indeed correct.

"Is that possible?" Gamecocks senior defensive lineman Taylor Stallworth asked. "How many minutes did they play?"

The Tigers finished their season opener against the Bears with stats that you'd likely find on Madden if the difficulty level was on easy and the game clock maxed at 15 minutes per quarter. Unfortunately, this is no video game and the Gamecocks are going to have to find a way to stop a high-octane offense from putting up similar numbers this week in the Battle of Columbia.

"We know how they're going to go," Stallworth said. "They're going to be tempo. Fast, fast, fast. That's what we've been preaching all day today. We know how their tempo is going to be."

The Gamecocks defense comes away from their contest after surrendering some less than impressive numbers as well, including 296 first-half passing yards and 504 yards of total offense as the Wolfpack played 99 snaps. However, it's not something USC seems to be too worried about. In fact, playing 99 snaps was helpful to the Carolina defense.

"Basically, it gets us ready to know what to expect," said Gamecocks sophomore defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum. "We did it last week. We can do it again this week"

Mizzou tallied 465 yards of total offense the last time these two teams faced off, but the Gamecocks were able to come away with a 31-21 win. With that in mind, Carolina is hoping to keep Mizzou off the field and keep their fans quiet.

"It's going to be loud there," Stallworth said. "We'll be at their home stadium. They're about to be going fast so we just need to keep everybody's mind on the same mindset. We're all together."

Part of the reason the Tigers were able to put up the kind of numbers that video game lovers salivate over is that they run a tempo offense that keeps defenses on their heels. Even though the challenge of stopping a team from running play after play can be daunting, Muschamp reminded everyone that there is a way to stop it from happening.

"You eliminate tempo by getting off the field," said Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp. "Get off the field on third down. They'll go for it depending on the field position in a lot of fourth down situations. You've got to get off the field on fourth down. You've got to create some turnovers and keep their defense on the field. Their tempo will be the fastest team we play this year. Theiy're on average in the high 20's as far as when the ball is snapped. You're looking at a window of probably 12-17 seconds off the 40-second clock.

"Our guys have to have urgency at the line. You've got to have your eyes in the right spots. They're going to spread the field on you. You've got to cover down, tackle in space, mix it up enough to where you're not giving the same thing over and over again. That's what happens in a lot of tempo situations. They vanilla a defense up and they know what they're getting."

South Carolina travels to Missouri to take on the Tigers at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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