Anthem Roundtable: Arkansas

Anthem Roundtable: Arkansas

Gamecock Anthem returns the weekly feature "Anthem Roundtable" as we take a look at Arkansas. The Razorbacks are led by quarterback Tyler Wilson and currently own a three-game winning streak over the Gamecocks. Will it end this weekend? Find out what our Anthem Roundtable panelists have to say.

The Anthem Roundtable is back another week as the Gamecocks are coming back from a bye weekend to face the Arkansas Razorbacks at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks are 7-2 on the season, with a 5-2 record in the SEC. South Carolina is looking to reach six wins in the SEC for the second straight year.

More importantly, a win this Saturday keeps the Gamecocks BCS hopes alive and continues the current home winning streak at Williams-Brice.

Will South Carolina end the Razorbacks three-game win streak over the Gamecocks? Find out what the Anthem Roundtable panelists think in another edition of Anthem Roundtable.

Today's roundtable features staff writer David Porter, Publisher Adam Garrett and guest bloggers Leftover Hot Dog and The Meat Locker Sports.

Please make sure you click their names and frequent their blogs too - you won't be disappointed.

We'll get started with this week's edition of The Anthem Roundtable...



South Carolina is currently stuck in a three-game losing streak to the Razorbacks. What are some keys to game in Saturday's contest?


PORTER: South Carolina has to perform better defensively. They don't want to get into a track meet with Tyler Wilson like they did with Tyler Bray against Tennessee. They narrowly escaped what would be a devastating loss to Tennessee, and it could happen again this week if they don't play better. On the other side, they need to jump out to an early lead. Arkansas is a team that has a fragile psyche and if Carolina jumps out to an early lead the Hogs could mail it in.

GARRETT: A few keys to the game in my mind would be strong secondary play, balanced offensive attack and solid kickoff coverage. We all know Arkansas can throw the ball extremely well so the USC secondary needs to perform much better than it did against Tennessee. I think a nice balance on offense between Connor Shaw and the running back duo of Kenny Miles and Mike Davis should keep the offense flowing. Arkansas' Dennis Johnson is a dangerous kick return man and the Gamecocks can't afford a big special teams play here. They need to shore up their tackling and assignments on kickoff coverage.

LOHD: The big thing for USC is to come out with intensity as they can not come out flat. Arkansas is not good but if USC does not treat them as a serious threat than no matter how awful the Hogs are they could still pull a win out.

MLS: Our secondary is going to need to step up and contain Tyler Wilson. The cornerbacks have been tested recently and Tyler Wilson is still, Tyler Wilson. If the Gamecocks plan on getting a ‘W' at home, that is going to be a necessity in terms of the gameplan. The Razorbacks were without Knile Davis last year in their victory over the Gamecocks and still managed over 120 yards on the ground with Dennis Johnson. The rushing attack should not be overlooked if Wilson can't get anything going through the air, meaning Kelcy Quarles and big Byron Jerideau may have their work cut out for them.

South Carolina will be without star running back Marcus Lattimore for the rest of the season. His replacements, Kenny Miles and Mike Davis, are next in line to takeover. Who has the best performance on Saturday?


PORTER: I think it will be Miles. He has been patiently waiting his turn and proved in the final two games last season what he can do if he's given the opportunity. With that said, I wouldn't be surprised if Davis has a big game.

GARRETT: I'm drinking the Mike Davis kool-aid for some reason. I just really think he'll step in and add some tough running yards mixed in with a few big runs. I think his combination of power and speed will step up big starting this weekend. Miles has been here before and knows the offense and how to perform at a high level. I just like Davis to step up big this weekend.

LOHD: I am really encouraged with Mike Davis and will choose him in that scenario. Don't get me wrong as Kenny Miles is a good workhorse but something tells me that Davis will break a few tackles in route to a bigger day due to him having a little more to prove.

MLS: By default, I think it's Kenny Miles, simply due to the distribution of carries. However, I do think that Mike Davis is going to make some plays. With out Latty, both running backs have a little less pressure knowing that they are going to be the primary aspect of the run game. With Brandon Wilds returning from his wrist injury, it should be interesting to see how involved he is in the gameplan and how quickly he's able to knock off the rust and return to 2011 form.

Arkansas and its prolific passing attack have given USC fits the last three seasons. They enter this game with an average of 305.4 yards per game through the air. Can South Carolina limit the damage in the passing game this weekend?


PORTER: They certainly need to. Whatever they did against Tennessee they need to do the opposite this week. They did not have a very good game plan against the Vols and Bray was able to pick them apart. A better game plan and better execution is the only thing that can stop Tyler Wilson from doing the same thing.

GARRETT: I think the bye weekend allowed USC to get some rest and refocus on a few things. One of those is mixing up the coverages in the secondary which has been mentioned a few times this week. The secondary has also shuffled a few players around including D.J. Swearinger getting some time at cornerback. It'll be hard to contain Tyler Wilson and the Arkansas passing game but think there will be a better performance this weekend than against what we saw versus Tennessee.

LOHD: The answer lies in the performance of the USC defensive line and their ability to apply pressure. If the Gamecocks can disrupt the flow of the Arky offense then it means good things for the South Carolina secondary. If not, hold on as it could be a shoot out.

MLS: They are going to have to. Lorenzo Ward shuffled the secondary around a little bit this week in practice by moving Devonte Holloman back to safety, Quin Smith to SPUR and even D.J. Swearinger at corner. Our defense is certainly capable of containing Wilson, It's going to have to take shape fast and early on. If Wilson comes out and has early success, it could potentially demoralize the secondary and put the Gamecocks in a bad spot.

Arkansas' pass defense has given up an average of 292.4 yards per game this year. Will Connor Shaw's strong performance against Tennessee carry over to this weekend?


PORTER: I think so. It's a home game and it's been well-documented that Connor Shaw performs well at home. He's facing another bad defense and he should be able to take advantage of the weaknesses back in the secondary.

GARRETT: Shaw should be able to continue his strong performance from the Tennessee game. The bye week allowed him to rest his sprained foot and he should be back to his old self this weekend. It's a home game and he has a comfort level at Williams-Brice. He may not throw for 350+ yards but he'll have another great game for South Carolina.

LOHD: It has too as the Razorbacks will commit to shutting down any resemblance of a USC rushing attack and make Connor Shaw's passing attack beat them. I feel that Shaw knows this and will be ready to create.

MLS: I like Shaw's chances of coming out and moving the ball like he did against Tennessee. The offense has essentially fallen on his shoulders all season as Lattimore struggled a bit in terms of really finding his groove after coming off his 2011 surgery. I'd expect to see Shaw mix it up on the ground as well, but he should have a nice day through the air.

Arkansas' offensive line has allowed one sack or less in seven games this season. They didn't allow a sack versus Texas A&M or Kentucky. Does Jadeveon Clowney, or another member of the Gamecock defensive line, have a shot at getting more than one sack this weekend?


PORTER: I don't think so. I think it is more of Tyler Wilson than anything else. Much like Bray, Wilson gets the ball out of his hand quickly. It is going to be tough sledding for anybody to get to Wilson. They may get him once, but that will be about it.

GARRETT: If the Gamecocks get more than one, it won't be that much more. Arkansas has limited most teams this season in sack totals so it's unlikely South Carolina will have a ton of sacks this weekend. Arkansas gets rid of the football quickly so there will be limited chances to bring Wilson down just like Tyler Bray from Tennessee. I'd expect some pressure though and a few big hits on Wilson. South Carolina has a chance to at least make him uncomfortable and that's the ultimate goal this weekend.

LOHD: Yes as this defensive line is like any other plus this line knows they have to play above average for USC to cruise to a win.

MLS: It's a similar situation that the defensive line faced two weeks ago against Tennessee. It took the Gamecocks and Jadeveon Clowney almost three quarters to wear the Vols offensive line down, but late in a close all game, Clowney had some much needed success in getting to Tyler Bray. If the defense stays consistent and makes the Razorbacks line work to protect Wilson, they're going to be susceptible late in the ball game.

South Carolina has outscored its opponents 59-23 in the first quarter while Arkansas has outscored their opponents 89-28. Who starts off strong and gets an early lead this weekend?


PORTER: South Carolina has been historically slow starters in games. Arkansas has been historically fast starters. This year, Carolina will be ahead after the first quarter.

GARRETT: I'd say the Gamecocks get off to a strong start this weekend. I think they will be well rested and ready to go this Saturday. This team is focused and won't come out flat like we've seen. I really think the Gamecocks will treat this game like the Georgia game in early October. A few quick scores early and they could be rolling this Saturday.

LOHD: It has to be USC as they Gamecocks can not play from behind. I am not sure the USC confidence amongst the team could stand it. USC must come out fast and furious on both sides of the ball.

MLS: It really has to be the Gamecocks. Kentucky was a great example of battling back after being down early. Arkansas and Kentucky are very different teams and could prove to be a thorn in Carolina's side. Despite their record, this is sill very much so the same Arkansas team that thumped the Gamecocks 44-28 last year. If we get down early, it's going to be very difficult to get back in the ball game.

Prediction?


PORTER: Arkansas is a team that always seems to have Carolina's number. This year Carolina has a chance to exact some revenge. The Gamecocks will take this one 31-17.

GARRETT: I think the Gamecocks get off to a quick start and withstand a late Arkansas comeback to win 38-31. This game just has a high-scoring feel to it. Both teams need this win, but if South Carolina wants to play for a potential BCS bid, they'll need it a lot more than Arkansas. I think we'll see the fire and intensity on Saturday.

LOHD: USC wins this game 31-17. Look for Devin Taylor to play big on defense and Mike Davis to make you smile on the offensive side of the ball.

MLS: 34-24 Gamecocks.

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