The No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks football team (2-0, 1-0 SEC) play host to the UAB Blazers (0-1, 0-0 Conf. USA) in a Saturday showdown that kicks off at 7 p.m. ET (FSN). South Carolina may be favored by 33.5 but don’t think this will be a cake walk as USC will have to keep focus and not suffer a slip up to a hungry team.
There are other storylines in this game to be mindful of as coach Steve Spurrier goes for his 200th career victory and running back Marcus Lattimore needs one touchdown to break the school’s all-time record of 33, set by George Rogers and matched by Harold Green.
USC should get the win, give Spurrier his 200th and allow Lattimore to set a new standard. But they need to respect the following five Blazers and not let these men have too much success. Keep your eyes on these guys and how USC shuts them down:
1. Jonathan Perry. The 6-2 junior threw for 317 yards and two TDs in the Blazers’ 39-29 season-opening loss. The USC secondary will need to be ready and the USC defensive line will need to remain in the face of Perry for the entire game.
2. Jackie Williams. The junior wideout has caught a pass in 24 straight games, getting six receptions for 157 yards and a TD in the opener. He is Perry’s go-to so USC needs to blanket him and not let him damage the goal of a Gamecocks win.
3. Bashr Coles. This running back did not get a touch in the loss to Troy last week but is expected to play a key role in the UAB backfield this season. He is likely to see time against USC so the Gamecocks have to stuff the run and not let Coles get loose.
4. Greg Irvin. At linebacker, he led UAB in their first game with 12 tackles, including seven solo stops. I am sure the USC coaches will know where he is on the field and he is likely to watching over Lattimore. The Gamecocks need to make sure they block him and don’t let him become a factor.
5. Ty Long. USC does not want this game to come down to a field goal late with Long at placekicker for UAB. He is one of 30 kickers on the 2012 Groza Award Watch List for the top kicker in college football. Just a sophomore, last season he ranked second nationally among freshmen in field goals made (1.33) and third in field-goal accuracy (84.2 percent) last season.
The Gamecocks should overcome the UAB challenge. Look for USC to cruise to a win but keep a eye on the five above and how USC isolates the threats each can present.