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South Carolina Versus Auburn: Five Keys To a Gamecock Victory

Alex RobertsCorrespondent ISeptember 27, 2011

South Carolina Versus Auburn: Five Keys To a Gamecock Victory

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    After four games, South Carolina is known as the overrated SEC team that is just on borrowed time. 

    The real schedule starts this Saturday, with Auburn coming to Columbia.... this is a great opportunity for South Carolina to make a statement.  With Auburn's 104th ranked defense, South Carolina should have no problems scoring points.

    It may be up to the South Carolina defense to maintain the defensive effort that they've had in the last few games.  If they come out strong, this game could be over quickly.

    If either side plays like garbage, Auburn is explosive enough on offense to make this a contest.

Matchup Chart

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    Position South Carolina Advantage Even Auburn Advantage
    Quarterback
      X
    Running Backs/Fullbacks

    X


    Wide Receivers X


     
    Offensive Line X



    Defensive Line X



    Linebackers X



    Defensive Backs X



    Special Teams X



    Coaching

    X

    National Ranking:

    Offense:

    SC- 66th

    Aub- 116th

    Defense:

    SC- 23rd

    Aub- 52nd

    The matchup is closer than this chart even says.  Most of these advantages are "slight" Carolina advantages, but just enough to where I can't call them even. 

    I consider the running back group to be even.  While South Carolina has the best single back on the field, Auburn has multiple running back threats. 

    Auburn will be an extremely good team... next year.  However, this year, they are experiencing some growing pains, especially on defense, which is one of the worst in the country.

1. Garcia Must Play Inspired and Circa 2010 Football

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    I think the biggest key to this game is Garcia.  I have been down on him recently, and I regret doing so. 

    I have re watched the tapes from the last four games, and saw flashes of old Garcia, and some positives that I have not seen in his career. 

    I truly believe that Garcia can pick his game back up to 2010 quality. 

    If he does for this game, Auburn will stand ZERO chance. 

    If Garcia plays like he has, Auburn has a chance.  Although, I feel as though it's a slim one. 

    When you have the 102nd ranked rushing defense, and South Carolina comes at you with the best running back in the country, there should be plenty of opportunities in the passing game. 

    If not, well, you still have the 102nd ranked rushing defense against the best runner in the country.  I like those odds.

2. Pressure Barrett Trotter

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    Barrett Trotter has some ability as a quarterback.  Granted, his stats are skewed by an amazing game against Utah State (caugh, caugh). 

    He played poorly against Clemson, and Clemson's defense (87th) isn't nearly as solid as South Carolina's (23rd), especially when rushing the quarterback. 

    If South Carolina can get pressure (which they will), and Victor Hampton plays as solidly as he did last week, the defense could absolutely man handle the number 76th ranked offense. 

3. Keep Emory Blake from Making Big Plays

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    Emory Blake has been a productive surprise.  His 6'4 frame could lead him to becoming the next elite SEC wide receiver. 

    South Carolina's passing defense has looked better, and has been boosted by the return of Devonte Holloman and Victor Hampton.

    They must keep Blake from catching the deep pass.  He is averaging roughly 20 yards per completion. 

    If that happens, Auburn's dynamic duo at running back could cause some serious headaches for the Gamecocks.

4. See If Damiere Byrd Can Make a Difference in the Offense

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    Finally, Damiere Byrd gets to take the field for the first time.  He is a hyped up prospect... a Florida-esq player with more speed than anyone on the field. 

    Conspiracy theorists say that the reason Garcia has over-thrown all of his receivers is because he use to Byrd. 

    I don't buy that, of course, but it is a nice thought. 

    Byrd is quite possibly the fastest player in college football (on paper)... he holds the youth world record in the 60 meter dash at 6.76 seconds. 

    That's fast, for those of you that aren't sure.   

5. Utilize Bruce Ellington

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    Bruce Ellington is a tremendous athlete, who can throw a football.  He was a highly ranked and touted quarterback coming out of high school. 

    He is blazingly fast, very agile, and highly intelligent.  I can't imagine why we have not seen more of him.

    However, he did have a bad play last week, which made him see the bench.  That can be easily fixed. 

    He could cause major headaches for Auburn and every team to follow.

Expert Picks

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    I pretty much nailed the game last week, thank you very much.  I predicted South Carolina to win 21-10, so I only saw seven points added to my total. 

    LHD gained some ground on the Guest Experts by choosing the score 31-10, which added 17 points to his total. 

    The guest for that week, Jeremy Hillman (SEC Columnist), gave Vandy a bit more offensive production. 

    He predicted 30-17 for South Carolina.  He added 23 to the guest pickers score.

    So as it stands:

    1.  Alex Roberts (3-0) +95

    2.  Guest Experts (3-0) +123

    3.  Leftover Hot Dog (3-0) +130

     

    This weeks guest is an Auburn featured columnist named Kevin McGrady, a personal favorite of mine. 

    As unbiased and as fair as they come (unless you are talking about Alabama, which I understand... see my opinions on Clemson), with a true passion for the game, I always enjoy seeing Kevin's comments added to my work.

    They are always tied to some true insight.  

    Check out his last piece about Auburn versus South Carolina

    This week's scores:

     

    My Score Prediction:

    South Carolina 38, Auburn 21

     

    Leftover Hot Dog's Prediction:

    South Carolina 27, Auburn 17

     

    Kevin McGrady's Prediction:

    South Carolina 35, Auburn 31

     

     

    As always, it is great to be a Gamecock, and you can always fan me on Facebook!

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