The South Carolina Gamecocks defense is starting to come alive against the Missouri Tigers. The No. 13 Gamecocks lead the Tigers 10-7 at halftime thanks to a strong defensive effort.
South Carolina entered Saturday’s contest ranked 111th out of 125 FBS teams in total defense. But Steve Spurrier‘s defense found the perfect remedy by playing the Tigers.
“Our defense has played super, but our offense kind of stinks right now,” Spurrier told ESPN’s Holly Rowe as he entered the locker room at halftime.
Missouri only managed 111 yards. The more impressive stat is holding the Tigers’ wide-open offense to only 57 passing yards. Gary Pinkel‘s system is built around four wide receiver sets which allow the Tigers to gain large chunks of yardage by stretching a defense horizontally and vertically. The Gamecocks have been up to the task so far.
Whatever you think of that PI call, Gamecocks pass coverage has been miles and miles better tonight.
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) September 28, 2014
The Tigers’ defense is playing well too. South Carolina only managed 179 yards through two quarters.
Defensive end Shane Ray continues to terrorize opponents’ backfields. Ray already added two sacks to this year’s season total. He now has eight sacks through four and a half games. Missouri’s single-season record is 11.5 sacks set by Aldon Smith.
Near the end of the half, though, South Carolina figured out how to attack Missouri’s defense. The Gamecocks provided a steady dose of running back Mike Davis. The junior back ran for 72 yards on 12 carries and gave South Carolina the lead with a touchdown romp 1:36 before halftime.
The Gameocks have a major advantage with their size along the offensive line. The ability to run the football effectively will allow South Carolina’s offense to keep moving the ball, while keeping the Gamecocks’ defense off the field.