on January 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

South Carolina’s keys to victory over Iowa

A look at what the Gamecocks need to do to win the Outback Bowl

1. Forget the last two games

Let’s face it, the Gamecocks’ last two outings in embarrassing losses to Florida and Clemson were nothing short of atrocious. South Carolina fell by 50 to the Gators, while it lost to the Tigers by a final score of 31-14 that doesn’t indicate how lopsided of an affair it really was. After taking two such devastating blows, the Gamecocks have to find a way to peel themselves off the mat, forget those games and fight on to end their season on a high note. It should be interesting to see how the Gamecocks respond to the challenge of recovering from two blowout losses after having not lost a game by more than seven points the rest of the season.

2. Contain Greene

Many teams have hoped to contain Iowa running back Shonn Greene this season, and there aren’t many squads who have come close. Still, the Gamecocks have to try their hand at containing the All-American back, who has torn through opposing defenses to the tune of more than 1,700 yards this season. He has yet to be held to under 100 yards in a single game this season behind a solid offensive line and recently claimed the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top back. He’ll more than likely get his 100 yards, but the Gamecocks have to slow him down and at least prevent the big play against him.

3. Jared Cook and Kenny McKinley, please stand up

Between a struggling offensive line, a disappointing senior running back and a freshman starter at quarterback, things are looking bleak for the Gamecocks’ offense. However, that freshman quarterback, Stephen Garcia, has shown the ability to make plays, much more than demoted quarterback Chris Smelley. But with so much pressure on him, the Gamecocks would like to see tight end Jared Cook and wide receiver Kenny McKinley step up and lend him a helping hand. Cook has disappeared in the last two losses, while McKinley’s numbers have declined sharply in that same span. With a few big plays from these guys, things could be looking up for South Carolina.

— Eric Sprott