Not only did South Carolina get worn down by the LSU running game last week, a flu bug has spread throughout the team heading into Saturday's big-time matchup with No. 2 Florida, according to the Times and Democrat.
Add the fact that star running back Marcus Lattimore is dealing with a hip injury and may not even play on Saturday (per Josh Kendall of The State) and you have a recipe for disaster.
LSU ran the ball 53 times for 258 yards last week. The Tigers had the ball for nearly 37 minutes in the 23-21 victory. Talk about wearing a defense down.
Interestingly enough, Florida's power running game did the same thing to LSU the week before, rushing 58 times and holding the ball for over 37 minutes. The Gamecocks are in danger of the same thing happening to them.
You can talk about South Carolina's top-notch run defense all you want. The fact is, LSU's unit may be even better and that didn't stop the Gators from running the football in Gainesville.
For those Gamecocks fans thinking junior quarterback Connor Shaw's dual-threat ability could open things up on the ground, remember that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel—a serious Heisman contender this season—rushed for only 3.5 yards per carry against Florida. Meanwhile, he is averaging 7.4 yards per carry for the season.
Perhaps South Carolina's pass defense can create some turnovers, but Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel has thrown just one interception all season long. He hasn't been asked to throw much and that doesn't figure to change against the Gamecocks.
Florida coach Will Muschamp will play it smart and keep running the ball on Saturday, which will likely add up to an exhausting loss for No. 7 South Carolina.