Gamecocks to face uptempo, high-powered offense in Missouri

Gamecocks to face uptempo, high-powered offense in Missouri

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - If you're a big football fan, there's a pretty good chance you like offense.

Teams lighting up the scoreboard can make for exciting times for fans, but it can make for nerve-racking moments for defensive coordinators on the sidelines. For South Carolina, putting up 35 points against North Carolina State made supporters extremely happy. However, they may need to put up more points against the Missouri Tigers.

"Defensively, Barry (Odom) is obviously the head football coach," said Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp. He's an outstanding coach and a defensive coach. He runs their defense. They're very inexperienced defensively. They only have six starters back, but Terry Beckner is as talented an inside player as there is in the country. No. 13, (Rashad) Brandon, really flashed for me in the first game, a guy who got a lot of vertical penetration. Jordan Harold is a guy, that is good pass rush wise.

"Barry will continue to do a good job defensively. Those guys continue to bring on a very young group on the defensive side of the ball. Of course, their specialists are good and their returners are outstanding. We've got our work cut out for us."

Last week, Mizzou racked up 72 points and more than 800 yards against Missouri State in their season opener. This week, the challenge for Will Muschamp's team is ensuring Mizzou doesn't have a similar performance in the SEC opener.

For the Missouri offense, it's all starts with Drew Lock. The Tigers junior quarterback completed just under 55 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,399 yards and 23 touchdowns. His ability to make plays is a trait that Muschamp certainly knows about.

"Drew Lock can make all the throws: short ones, intermediate ones, long throws," Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. "He's got great arm talent, and he does have 'escapability.' He scrambles to throw."

"He's a great quarterback," Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley said. "They have a great offense, but the name of the game is to score more points than them whether that's 14-10 or 70-60. Our goal is to score more points than them and that's what we're going to try to do."

Lock will have J'Mon Moore as a featured target this week. The preseason All-SEC second-team selection had four catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears. Moore was one of two receivers to have 100 or more receiving yards a week ago. With that in mind, it'll be extremely important for the Gamecocks to find ways to get to the quarterback and finish tackles this week.

"They'll throw the vertical ball as well as anybody in the country," Muschamp said. "You look at the explosive plays. The first play of the game last week was a screen, but it was 65 yards after one missed tackle. They're going to make you tackle well in space. They do a really nice job in the RPO's, creating some things in the run game. They create a lot of space in how they spread the field."

Defensively, the Tigers weren't exactly stout last week. They surrendered 492 yards and 43 points to Missouri State. Those big numbers have the Gamecocks licking their chops just thinking about what they can do on offense.

"We know that we can run the ball against them," said Gamecocks running back A.J. Turner. "We watched their last game against Missouri State. They scored a lot of points. They also gave up a lot of points so we're going to try to take advantage of it."

South Carolina will face Missouri at Faurot Field on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

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