South Carolina Football: SEC East Champs vs. Troy Trojans Preview

Troy University

Location: Troy, Alabama

Students: 29,580

Head Coach: Larry Blakeney (58-46 in his 18th season as head coach)

Trojan 2010 record: 5-4 overall, 4-2 in the Sun Belt

Record vs. Carolina: South Carolina leads the series 2-0

Famous Alumni: Osi Umenyiora ( NFL) DeMarcus Ware (NFL) Jill Dobson (Fox News) 

Trojan offense vs. Carolina Defense: The Gamecocks defense is coming off of one of its best performances of the season.  The Gamecocks only gave up 226 yards of total offense to the Gators and only 191 passing yards.  The defense will be riding high coming into this game, lets just hope there is no let down from last week.  

Troy is currently ranked 13th in the nation in passing offense, averaging 296 passing yards a game and 450 total yards a game.  In Troy’s 9 games this season, they are averaging 33 points a game.  

Players to watch out for on Offense: Troy is lead by redshirt freshman Corey Robinson who has passed for 2,553 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season.  Robinson’s favorite receiver is Jerrel Jernian, a 5-9 senior who has 58 receptions for 617 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Troy’s rushing attack is by committee, as DuJuan Harris and Shawn Southward will get the bulk of the carries.  Harris leads the team with 418 rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns on the season.

Gamecocks Offense vs. Troy’s defense: Troy’s defense is coming off a game where they allowed Florida International to score 52 points last week, giving up 668 total yards of offense.  Of the 668 total yards, 448 came on the ground against an average FIU rushing attack. The Trojans are currently ranked 103 nationally in total defense, giving up 435 yards a game.  They are also ranked 90th nationally in scoring defense giving up 31 points a game.  

The Gamecock offense proved last weekend in Gainesville, that ball control and a strong rushing attack will win ball games.  Lattimore carried 40 times for 212 yards against the 7th ranked defense last week.  I don’t expect Lattimore to get 40 carries this weekend, but should still have over 100 yards rushing.  The Gamecocks offense is currently ranked 52 nationally is total yards, averaging 395 yards a game.  

Players to watch out for on Troy’s Defense: Troy is lead by LB Xaiver Lamb, DB LaDarrius Madden and DE Jonathan Massaquoi.  Massaquoi will give the offensive line problems if not doubled team, as he has 56 tackles, 14.5 for loss, and 9.5 sacks on the season.  Lamb leads the Trojans in tackles with 63, and has 6 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.  LaDarrius Madden is the Trojans best player in the secondary and leads the team with 3 interceptions.

What might happen on ‘Saturday: The SEC East Champions will come out to a crazy crowd as it is senior day and the final home game of the season.  I look for the Gamecocks to take advantage of a bad Troy defense, and run the ball as they did against Florida.  The majority of the carries will go to freshman superstar Marcus Lattimore in the first half, but will give way to Miles and Maddox in the second half.  Look for Garcia to have a carrier day against the Trojans, connecting with Alshon and Gurley for touchdowns.  The 2nd half will be Conner Shaws to control as Spurrier will let the freshman get another shot to prove that he is the future of Gamecock football once Garcia is gone.  Overall Troy will have problems with the loud crowd and a fired up defense that wants to prove that they are better then the statistics show.  Senior defensive end Cliff Matthews will end his career in Williams Brice Stadium with one of his best games ever, getting to Robinson a couple times.  

Prediction: USC 42 Troy 17