After a crazy, stressful week due to the devastating floods, we’re getting closer to some normalcy with football on the horizon.
It’s amazing to see the unity from everyone affected by this and the generosity of not only the USC athletics department but also everybody in South Carolina.
The team seems to be mimicking the behavior of the community around them: they’re banding together. And they’ll need it facing a big test in LSU, and Heisman front-runner Leonard Fournette.
That’s a huge storyline going forward, and here are some more things to keep in mind when the game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Will the Gamecocks contain Leonard Fournette?
With a guy like Fournette, he can’t be stopped; he’s going to get yards no matter what. He’s rushed for 200 yards in three straight games and is narrowing in on 1,000 yards rushing less than halfway through the season. If the Gamecocks can keep him somewhat contained, limit him offensively, then the upset may be on.
How will the team respond after the crazy week?
Will the plethora of distractions play a role, or will the team come out focused and ready to block out the outside noise? (And knowing Tiger Stadium, there will be a lot of outside noise.) If the players stay locked in on their primary goal of winning the game, they could come out and catch the Tigers napping at home.
Gamecock Quarterbacks Episode V: The Orthpire Strikes Back
Perry Orth is starting this week, making it the fourth starting quarterback switch through six games this season. Orth didn’t fare so well in his lone start of the season in a 52-20 rout at the hands of Georgia. Now, he goes into a more hostile environment at LSU; the man really can’t catch a break in terms of playing in front of raucous crowds. Orth needs to stay composed and command the offense well if the team has a shot of winning.
Handling the crowd
Is it loud at Death Valley? Yeah, it’s pretty loud there. So loud it once registered as a miniature earthquake on a local seismograph. It’ll be interesting to see how the offense comes out and how it communicates and if it can do it effectively.
Prediction: I think South Carolina comes out swinging, and running the football, and strikes first. It’ll be a close game through the first three quarters but the Tigers just have too much talent and should pull away late. Fournette predicted stat line: 25 carries, 210 yards, 2 TDs.
LSU 31, South Carolina 21