Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina Gamecocks glance
Game: Noon Saturday
Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Last year: The Gamecocks somehow beat Georgia in overtime and that win put their record at 3-3. The next week, they lost a fourth-quarter lead against Florida and finished the season with five losses in the last six games. The offense was the biggest problem, as South Carolina finished 95th in the nation and only had 12 TD passes all season.
Outlook for 2020: You may be surprised by this, but Will Muschamp is on the hot seat. Last year’s bowl-less 4-8 season and an unimaginative offense forced him to change coordinators by bringing in Mike Bobo, who was fired at Colorado State. Bobo brought quarterback Colin Hill with him (Hill was 2-for-8 as a Colorado State backup against UF in 2018) and it was a surprise that he beat out Ryan Hilinski for the starting role. Hill threw for 291 yards in his South Carolina opener Saturday night, but the temperature on Muschamp's seat in Columbia went up with Saturday's 31-27 loss to visiting Tennessee. Late in the game, Muschamp was criticized for a decision to go for a field goal down seven points. South Carolina looked like it had a final chance when it forced a Tennessee punt with 90 seconds left. But the punt touched a USC player after it hit the ground, the Vols recovered and ran out the clock for the win.
Best offensive player: Receiver Shi Smith, who had 43 catches a year ago despite missing two games, picked up right where he left off last year with 10 catches in the first game for 140 yards.. At 5-foot-10, he’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he has the speed to get behind defenses. This is the senior's fourth game against Florida and he has five catches for 68 yards against the Gators.
Best defensive player: Middle linebacker Ernest Jones is exactly the kind of defender Muschamp looks for to build a defense around. He had 97 tackles last year, which was 20 more than any other Gamecock, and 5.5 sacks. Jones missed the first three weeks of preseason camp after an appendectomy. He was in on 11 total tackles against Tennessee.
Fun fact: Even before the rescheduled season, this will be the earliest in the season that Florida has played South Carolina. The teams have only played seven times in October with the previous earliest game being Oct. 10 in 1936.
Quote: “No one play lost us the game,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said following the game Saturday night