The matchup between Jeff Driskel and Connor Shaw is as even as it gets. It will be the first time that the two SEC quarterbacks meet, in what will be a hard-fought battle between the No. 3 and No. 9 teams in the nation.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are coming off their only loss this season, which was to the No. 6 LSU Tigers. Shaw threw for 177 yards in the game, but LSU’s defense was too much for him.
Last week was only the third time in Shaw’s career that he threw multiple interceptions in one game. Add those two to one of his worst rushing games this season, and South Carolina didn’t have much of a chance against a great LSU team.
In today’s matchup, Shaw is going to try to get his running game back. Last week, he finished with negative rushing yards, which was the first time this year that he has done so when running over 10 times.
Shaw doesn’t need to amend his passing game, though; it has been consistent all year. He has thrown two touchdowns in each of his last four games and has only failed to throw for over 100 yards only once this season.
His numbers are very similar to Driskel’s.
Like Shaw, Driskel has had a lot of success scrambling this season. Last week, he ran for 177 yards—more than his passing output over the past two weeks—and three touchdowns.
The sophomore needs to pick up his passing game if he and the Florida Gators want to remain undefeated.
Against Vanderbilt and LSU, Driskel was still able to come out with wins, although he did not throw the ball well. A bad passing game by Driskel will not fly against South Carolina.
He needs to get back to finding wide receiver Jordan Reed, who only had two receptions last week, the fewest he has had in a game this year. Driskel hasn’t hit Reed with more than three passes since Week 3 at Tennessee.
The Gators have won the past two weeks, but Driskel needs to start throwing as he did in Weeks 1-4 if he and the team want to make the SEC Championship Game.
Expect Driskel and Shaw to have an even matchup in rushing and passing. The two are fewer than 100 yards apart in terms of passing yards this season, and fewer than 50 yards apart in terms of rushing yards.
What the matchup will come down to is whether Driskel can throw better than he did last week and whether Shaw can rush better than he did last week.
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