South Carolina vs. Arkansas Free Pick/Preview
- Updated: November 4, 2011
NCAA Football Betting Favorite: Arkansas -5
It’s a matchup of two top ten teams this Saturday night in Arkansas. South Carolina has had plenty of key injuries this year, but the Gamecocks still enter at 7-1. Arkansas also enters the game at 7-1. Both of these teams are still a factor in the SEC, but the loser of this game risks falling out of contention quickly. Which team will come up with a big win this Saturday night? Expect a hard fought contest under the lights in Fayetteville this weekend.
Marcus Lattimore was South Carolina’s best offensive player, but he tore cartilage in his knee a couple weeks ago. The Gamecocks offense isn’t the same without him, but the team must find a way to adapt to life without their star running back. Brandon Wilds has stepped into the starting running back position, and he is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Stephen Garcia is no longer on the team, and Connor Shaw is now the team’s signal caller. Shaw is a capable runner, but the Gamecocks need him to be more effective in the passing game. Alshon Jeffery is one of the best receivers in the country, but he hasn’t been touching the ball enough so far this year.
How has South Carolina been able to fare so well despite losing such a key member of the offense? The defense has been sensational so far this season. The Gamecocks rank sixth in the nation in total defense. South Carolina is allowing just 17 points per game. Arkansas will be a big test for this unit.
Arkansas lost a very good quarterback in Ryan Mallett. Fortunately for the Razorbacks, they found another terrific quarterback to step in as the starter. Tyler Wilson has thrown 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions so far this season. The Razorbacks have the most talented group of wideouts in the SEC. Jarius Wright leads the group with 44 receptions and seven touchdown catches. Arkansas lost their star running back, Knile Davis, before the season. Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo are sharing duties in the backfield at this point. The Razorbacks are averaging 37 points per contest.
Defensively, the Razorbacks are allowing quite a few yards, but the team has done a nice job forcing turnovers. One problem area for Arkansas has been getting pressure on the quarterback. This unit has only picked up 11 sacks in eight games. Opponents are averaging 188 yards per game on the ground against the Razorbacks.
South Carolina’s offense isn’t nearly as explosive as they appeared to be on paper before the season, but the defense is very good. I think this game stays close all the way through, but I think the defenses will have the upper hand.
Free College Football Pick: Under 52.5
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