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Arkansas vs. South Carolina

Betting Line: South Carolina -4 o/u 59

11/3/10

 

There was a time this season when both South Carolina and Arkansas believed they could and would win the SEC. Both have very bleak chances now that the season has progressed. The Razorbacks had the lead in the 4th quarter before ceding to Alabama. Later in the year they dropped a big game to Auburn after losing QB Ryan Mallett. Since that game they have knocked off Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks succeeded where Arkansas failed by pulling a huge upset of Alabama, but they dropped their next game to the lowly Kentucky Wildcats. Pride and bowl status are at stake in this game. Let's see how they stack up!

It's no secret that HC Bobby Petrino likes to air the ball out. His Razorbacks rank 2nd in the nation in passing yards and 20th in PPG. They have been lacking a running game, but that is changing late in the year. Sophomore Knile Davis rushed for 176 yards and 3 TDs against Ole Miss. He followed that performance up with 82 yards and 2 TDs against Vanderbilt. If he can continue to be successful then we can expect the Arkansas passing game to be even more deadly than usual.

QB Ryan Mallett is the QB of this team. Formerly thought of as a top Heisman candidate, he has had a few hiccups in the past couple of weeks. He left the game against Auburn, and didn't play all of the game against Ole Miss. Things were fine against Vanderbilt though. He passed for 409 yards and 3 TDs in that game. Mallett will face a tough challenge against South Carolina's defense, but he has a plethora of good WRs to help him get the job done. One of the best is junior Greg Childs who has caught 46 passes for 659 yards and 6 TDs in 2010. They key for the Arkansas offense will be a steady diet of running the ball followed by unleashing what we believe is the best pass attack in the nation.

South Carolina enters this game on a two game win streak with victories over Vanderbilt, and Tennessee. They have proved all year long they can play with anybody, and if not for a slip up against the Wildcats they would be in the hunt for the SEC title. In order for this team to beat Arkansas they will have to go with freshman Marcus Lattimore. The RB needs to see the ball as much as possible. So far this year he has 151 carries for 722 yards and 11 TDs. Not bad for the first year on the job! Not only has he done well to this point, we can expect him to continue to improve. 

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Outside of Marcus Lattimore, HC Steve Spurrier needs for his Gamecocks to get a great effort from QB Stephen Garcia. He isn't the greatest QB, but when he minimizes mistakes he can get the job done as good as anyone. He proved that with 3 TDs and 1 INT against the Crimson Tide earlier this year.

The defense in Arkansas has improved every week this year. Against Vanderbilt they didn't allow a single first down in the second half. Granted, Vanderbilt isn't a great team, but holding any SEC team without a first down for a half is a good accomplishment. Their biggest challenge will be stopping RB Marcus Lattimore. The game could likely depend on the matchup of the Razorbacks defense against the South Carolina running game.

South Carolina's defense ranks 26th in the nation in the category of Points Against. The most points they have allowed this year was 35 to the rock solid Auburn offense. Arkansas won't have their way with them as they do with most defenses. Playing at home will help bolster the adrenaline of the defense as well.

If we were going to play this game ourselves, we'd release it as a Key Release. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Yards per point numbers favor South Carolina here. Both teams with good numbers offensively but the Gamecocks with the edge defensively, translating into a game line of roughly SC -7. The one glaring problem for South Carolina here and what keeps us from diving in, is that they are 105th in the Nation against the pass and this week face one of the top QB's in the land. That's the x factor here. Otherwise, we feel South Carolina is the better, more well rounded team. Playing at home and so close to finding themselves in the SEC title game seal the deal, but not by enough for us to play for real. South Carolina -4


 

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