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South Carolina vs. Auburn: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIOctober 23, 2014

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall (14) passes against Mississippi State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct 11, 2014.  No.3 Mississippi State beat No. 2 Auburn 38-23. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Before the season began, this Week 9 showdown appeared likely to be a clash of SEC heavyweights. As it turns out, that won't exactly be the case when No. 5 Auburn takes on South Carolina.

The Tigers continue their roller-coaster season with an outside chance of earning a berth in the College Football Playoff despite suffering a loss to Mississippi State in Week 8. The Gamecocks quickly fell down the ranks after a Week 1 loss to Texas A&M, and two more losses to Missouri and Kentucky saw the team fall out of the Top 25 altogether.

South Carolina is still searching for wins to become bowl eligible, and Auburn can't be caught looking ahead at a brutal remaining schedule that includes games at Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama. Will the Tigers roll, or will they be caught in a trap game?

SEC contests can be overwhelmingly unpredictable, and these teams' seasons hang in the balance.

Limiting Turnovers

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 4: Dylan Thompson #17 of the South Carolina Gamecocks throws a pass during the first half of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Imag
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Turnovers always play a crucial part in the success or failure of any team in any given week. Expect that statement to ring true on Saturday, as both of these teams were handed recent losses due to a lack of ball security.

South Carolina was upset by Kentucky in Week 6 due in part to quarterback Dylan Thompson's three interceptions. His third pick of the day was nabbed by Alvin Dupree deep in Gamecocks territory and returned for an easy touchdown. That score wound up being the difference-maker in a seven-point loss.

While the Gamecocks bounced back in Week 8 against Furman, losing two fumbles in that contest doesn't exactly provide plenty of confidence moving forward.

Auburn suffered its first loss to Mississippi State in Week 8 during a sloppy game in Starkville. The Tigers turned the ball over a total of four times, as quarterback Nick Marshall threw two interceptions and fumbles were lost by D'haquille Wilson and Jamoral Graham.

The Tigers lost by 15 points; however, that margin could have been significantly worse had the Bulldogs not accumulated four turnovers of their own.

Here's a look at turnovers by game for both teams:

South Carolina and Auburn Turnovers by Game
TeamWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8
South Carolina112103Bye2
Auburn12Bye1014Bye
ESPN.com

The key to avoiding turnovers for both of these teams is to establish the running game early. South Carolina has a great two-headed attack with Mike Davis and David Williams, while Auburn has a mix of the versatile Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne.

Stopping the Run

MANHATTAN, KS - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Nick Marshall #14 of the Auburn Tigers hands off to running back Cameron Artis-Payne #44 during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on September 18, 2014 in Manhattan
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

While both teams will look to establish the run in an effort to limit turnovers, they will also be attempting to stifle their opponent's ground game. However, that may be easier in theory for these defenses.

Take a glance at a side-by-side comparison of both teams' rushing offenses:

Auburn and South Carolina Rush Offense in 2014
TeamRankYdsAvgRush TDYPG
Auburn131,5725.5513262.0
South Carolina491,2984.8314185.4
NCAA.com

Auburn continues to be a run-first team. Marshall isn't the most developed passer, and he's of better use as a complement to the running game than the other way around. The Tigers have a handful of viable ball-carriers, and they could have a field day against the South Carolina run defense.

South Carolina is ranked 89th in the nation against the run, allowing an average of 181.7 yards per game. The team's struggles in that department were wildly apparent against Furman. Despite the lack of a passing game altogether, Furman was still able to generate 211 yards and a score on 39 carries—an average of 5.4 yards per rush—against the Gamecocks.

Furman's Hank McCloud is a good ball-carrier; however, the team isn't near as explosive or versatile as Auburn.

The Tigers have fared nicely against the run this season, ranking 25th in the nation, allowing an average of 120.7 yards per game. The team is coming off an uncharacteristic performance after giving up 223 yards on the ground to Mississippi State; however, 121 of those yards were racked up by quarterback Dak Prescott.

Without a running threat at the quarterback position, the Gamecocks may find it a little more difficult to get their ground game going against the Auburn run defense.

When: Saturday, October 25

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama

Channel: SEC Network

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Betting Lines (via Odds Shark):

  • Over/Under: 65
  • Point Spread: Auburn -17.5

Team Injury Reports

Auburn Injury Report
PlayerPos.DateStatusInjury
Gage BattenFB08/31/2014Outknee
Jordan DiamondG09/26/2014Outundisclosed
Raashed KennionDE10/19/2014Questionableankle
Alex KozanG08/02/2014Outback
Carl LawsonDE07/15/2014Outknee
Patrick MillerT10/19/2014Questionableknee
Jermaine WhiteheadS09/22/2014Questionabledisciplinary
Patrick YoungFB08/31/2014Outknee
USA Today
South Carolina Injury Report
PlayerPos.DateStatusInjury
Bryson Allen-WilliamsLB10/22/2014Probableconcussion
Rory AndersonTE10/22/2014Outtriceps
Jacob AugustTE10/22/2014Questionableundisclosed
Matrick BeltonWR10/19/2014Questionableundisclosed
Cedrick CooperDE09/29/2014Outankle
Kevin CrosbyTE10/19/2014Questionablefoot
Mason HarrisDE10/19/2014Questionableknee/illness
Caleb HinesWR10/19/2014Questionableundisclosed
David JohnsonDE10/22/2014Probableknee
Kaiwan LewisLB10/19/2014Probableone-game suspension served
Na'Ty RodgersT10/19/2014Probableone-game suspension served
Jamari SmithCB08/21/2014Outfoot
Donell StanleyOL10/19/2014Questionablewrist
J.T. SurrattDT10/19/2014Doubtfulhamstring
Cody WaldropG10/19/2014Questionableknee
Jonathan WaltonLB10/20/2014Doubtfulconcussion
Devin WashingtonDE10/19/2014Questionablehamstring
USA Today

Injury reports per Sports Network, via USA Today.

Prediction

If establishing the run leads to eliminating turnovers and a victory in this SEC clash, the advantage most certainly goes to Auburn. The team's ability to use the option and get around a porous South Carolina run defense will allow the Tigers to control the ball and the clock for a vast majority of the game.

Meanwhile, South Carolina could be forced into throwing situations more often than it would like, and that could lead to some issues for Thompson against a solid defense.

Expect Auburn to get out to an early lead, forcing turnovers and defeating the Gamecocks by a substantial margin on Saturday evening.

Prediction: Auburn 45, South Carolina 20

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