Time: 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Series Record: South Carolina leads 4-0-1
Last Time We Met...: Way back when in 1995. The Gamecocks took on LaTech when they were in the Big West. South Carolina won 68-21.
Spread: Opened at 10.5. Down to 9.5 and 9 in other locales.
O/U: Opened at 58. Down to 53, 53.5 in some locales.
Records ATS: LaTech (1-2) | South Carolina (2-1)
The South Carolina Gamecocks sputtered in their 23-13 defeat last week. The home opener didn’t go as planed, as the Kentucky Wildcats came in and left them with their first L of the year. At 2-1, the Gamecocks certainly aren’t at too big of a disadvantage. But some of the ugliness that’s plagued them in the past is starting to resurface.
For their sake, they’ll welcome the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs this weekend to Columbia. The Gamecocks’ opponent stands at 2-1 also, but their defense has been absolutely porous as they enter Saturday’s game. As it stands, LaTech ranks 116th in S&P+ Defense. They are ranked 107th in Rushing Success Rate, 78th in Passing Success Rate and possess less than stellar marks in nearly every metric.
Will this provide an opportunity to get the good vibes going again? Or will another step in the wrong direction be taken? Time will tell.
Starving for progression in the air
The Gamecock offense, passing-wise, has been a bit stagnant. Jake Bently’s completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 706 yards. He has only three interceptions on the year to six touchdowns. However, his Y/A is only 6.8. Their Passing Success Rate is just 2.0 percent ahead of the FBS average right now. The numbers look worse on Passing Downs, as they rank 114th in the country, a full six percent below the FBS average.
Louisiana Tech’s defense presents an opportunity for progression in the air. They rank 78th in Passing Success Rate as a unit. While it’s only 0.9 percent worse than the nation’s average, an opening is an opening. Perhaps more importantly, they aren’t getting to the QB much at all. Their Overall Havoc Rate of 12.4 percent is 113th in the country right now.
So, Jake Bentley probably shouldn’t expect much trouble throwing the ball. It’s, mostly, about executing against an opponent that should be vulnerable enough.
Life without Deebo
Deebo Samuel will be out for the next few weeks after suffering an injury last week. Without Samuel, the Gamecocks are most certainly less explosive than they were going into last weekend. Samuel had accounted for quite a lot of SC’s touchdowns both in special teams and on offense.
Someone will have to step up in his absence. With it’s running back Rico Dowdle, wide receiver Bryan Edwards or tight end Hayden Hurst, the Gamecocks need somebody to pick up from where Samuel left off. We’ll see who steps up Saturday, as it could go a long way towards determining who the go-to option will now be.
South Carolina is favored to win this game both in the point spread and win probability. They’d best hope they do, as they’re projected to lose the next six games thereafter and seven of their last eight. This could be one of their final opportunities for a win, and without something breaking for them in the rest of conference play, it could be ghastly in Columbia.
Prediction: South Carolina 35, Louisiana Tech 21