South Carolina is at its best this season when it's able to run the football.
The game plan shouldn't be any different this weekend for the Gamecocks as they should focus on getting the running game involved against Clemson.
Freshman Brandon Wilds has been able to pick up the run game for the Gamecocks in his four starts. He's got three 100-yard games to his credit so far and is using a hard-nosed running style that we've become accustomed to since Marcus Lattimore stepped foot on campus. His vision has enabled him to gain the extra yards when finding the right holes on the line to break through for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks also have a lethal threat in quarterback Connor Shaw. His most recent game against The Citadel saw the sophomore quarterback rush for 90 yards including a 60-yard touchdown run where he showcased the speed. He's got a knack for gaining yards when a play breaks down, and this could come in handy this weekend. He seemed to do this against the Florida Gators, and it was a big help in keeping Carolina drives alive.
Clemson's defense is susceptible to the run. They've given up over 184 yards per game this season on the ground to their opponents. Georgia Tech was able to run for 383 yards in their first loss of the season while Maryland ran for 291 in a comeback win for the Tigers. Wofford and Auburn ran over 235 yards a piece in their games with Clemson this season.
This needs to be a focus for the Gamecocks for two reasons this game:
First off, the running game is South Carolina's identity this year. It gives them a chance to get settled into the game and open up the passing game if Clemson gets lulled into placing more defenders in the box. This should give USC a chance to throw the ball downfield and hopefully get a mismatch in a one-on-one situation with receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Secondly, an established run game chews down the clock and keeps the opposing offense off the field. Clemson's offense is a high-scoring, big-play threat so the less opportunities they have to touch the football the better for South Carolina.
USC has the two longest drives in the SEC this season, and they should look to try and do the same this weekend.
South Carolina knows the running game is key to their success. Look for the Gamecocks to try and get it going early in this football game.