COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - After suffering a tough loss on the road to Texas A&M, South Carolina looks to bounce back this weekend and remain alive in the SEC East race when they host Arkansas.
The Razorbacks boast a high-powered offense that averages 35 points and 408 yards per game. This balanced offense has shown it is capable of beating teams using both its running and passing game. Senior Austin Allen leads Arkansas at quarterback with 766 passing yards and seven touchdowns while junior Jonathan Nance leads the way for the Hogs' receiving corps with 15 catches for 258 yards and four touchdowns.
As lethal as their passing game may be, Bret Bielema's team also features a dangerous running game with a familiar face in David Williams helping the cause.
"Dave was a great guy here," said Gamecocks sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley. "Great teammate. So, it's going to be fun to see him back here. It's going to be weird (to see him) on the other side of the ball, but he's doing really well at Arkansas and I'm happy for him. So, it'll be good to see him."
Williams is the Razorbacks' third-leading rusher with 207 yards and four touchdowns. He is one of three rushers for Arkansas to collect more than 200 rushing yards this season for Arkansas. In total, the Razorbacks have totaled more than 800 yards on the ground.
Those are the kind of numbers that Carolina fans hope to see out of their running backs as the season progresses. So far, the Gamecocks have struggled in that department. The Gamecocks have only had two games with more than 100 yards rushing and that's something that concerns the Gamecocks.
"We've just got to keep attacking it, keep going back out to practice and getting better," said Gamecocks running back Ty'Son Williams. "There are some things that we can all improve on, but I think we've just got to keep working, keep sticking with it."
Defensively, Arkansas holds their opponents to just over 27 points per game this year. Up front, the Razorbacks lean on McTelvin Agim to put pressure on the quarterback. So far, Agim has a team-high four sacks and is tied for third on the team in total tackles with 17. Still, Arkansas can be a thorn in Carolina's side because of their defensive scheme.
"They'll match personnel," said Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp. "They'll put a nickel in the game and take a linebacker out there and try to get another rush guy in the game. They do rush four and have a more athletic rusher on the field rather than a big guy. They'll play base personnel in some situations based on the matchups for them. That will need to be something we need to see early in the game on how they will match us. That's something you see on game days as much as anything."
If the Gamecocks hope to come away with a win, time of possession will be a key factor. In the last three games, Carolina has lost the time of possession battle. In fact, Gamecock opponents have held the ball five minutes longer than USC per game. The Gamecocks will have to find a way to fix that.
""The three-and-outs are an issue. We've had 12 in our last 26 possessions in SEC ball. That's a problem. You have to get off the field on defense. That's number one. In order to do that, you've got to maintain some drives offensively. It also flips field position. That's an issue as well. It's not about scoring points sometimes; it's about getting a couple first downs and flipping the field."