Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Spurrier Remembers 48-7 Last Year

#3 Auburn @ South Carolina (+14, 37.5) 7:30 Thursday ESPN

In Steve Spurrier's first year back in the SEC, the Gamecocks experienced some incredible highs (beating Tennessee in Knoxville, beating Florida), but the lowest point of the season had to be the 48-7 beating laid on South Carolina by Auburn last year. Knowing Spurrier he remembers that game and will want some big time payback, but does he have the talent to beat a team like Auburn?

3 Keys to South Carolina Winning:
1. They must get some resemblance of a running game going. This will be a difficult task for a offense averaging just 120 ypg on the ground facing a defense yielding just over 80 ypg. If the Gamecocks fall behind and have to rely solely on the passing of Syvelle Newton they could be in trouble
2. Pick their poison on defense. South Carolina cannot let Auburn achieve balance between the run and pass offensively. My philosophy would be to make Brandon Cox beat you under pressure. The Gamecocks have a pretty good pass defense allowing 110 ypg, but their rush defense needs some work on a 176 ypg average. I would stack eight in the box and blitz Cox left and right as he is not the most mobile QB.
3. Get and keep the crowd involved. The Gamecocks have the most loyal fans in America and will need them to be their twelfth man if they want to beat Auburn. A trick play or big play early along with an early lead will keep the 80,000+ screaming all game.

Keys for Auburn to Cover:
1. Protect Brandon Cox. The Tigers have a plethora of weapons on offense and Cox knows how to get them the ball when given time. If he is pressured then the Tigers will find themselves in a a lot of 2nd/3rd and longs.
2. Punish the South Carolina defense early. A nice 6-7 minute touchdown drive in the first quarter will help take the crowd out of the game and really test the mettle of the South Carolina run defense. Auburn will be facing a rush defense allowing over 175 yards per game on the ground
3. Make someone else beside Sidney Rice catch the ball. The offensive situation at South Carolina is very similar to that of Georgia Tech's in years past - standout WR with mobile, sometimes shaky QB. I expect Auburn to double Rice and blitz Newton making him find a second option under duress.

I think Auburn has to much talent for South Carolina to hang for four quarters. This line started around at 13.5 and now moved to 14. Auburn may be able to take the over themselves with a few big plays.

Prediction: Auburn 31 South Carolina 14 (Auburn Covers, Over)
I think the over is a much stronger play than the spread.

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