Columbia, SC – The 12th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks take a break from SEC action to play host to FCS foe Wofford on Saturday afternoon.
With a 16-13 win over Chattanooga last week, Wofford clinched a share of the Southern Conference championship for the third time in the last five seasons. At 8-2, the Terriers will use this game as a tune-up for the FCS playoffs.
South Carolina had hopes of earning a trip to the SEC Championship Game at the start of the season, but that dream was dashed following tough road losses to LSU (23-21) and Florida (44-11). The Gamecocks bounced back nicely in recent weeks with wins over Tennessee (38-35) and Arkansas (38-20), and at No. 9 in the BCS poll, they are still in play for an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.
"We had some bumps in the road, but 6-2 (in the SEC) isn't bad," head coach Steve Spurrier said. "We would really like to win (against Wofford). In school history I don't think we have ever won seven home games. There are still some opportunities out there for us."
These two programs are familiar with another, having met 22 times previously. South Carolina is on a 15-game winning streak in the series, giving it an 18-4 lead over Wofford all-time.
The Wofford offense (35.8 ppg) has been solid this season behind a fantastic rushing attack, as it gains 372.9 of its 425.0 yards per game on the ground.
Eric Breitenstein has been a workhorse for the Terriers, gaining 1,396 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns on 188 carries. Eight other players have at least 100 yards rushing on the season.
Brian Kass has only attempted 40 passes in nine games, and while he has completed just 17 of them (.425 completion percentage), they've gone for 340 yards and six touchdowns. Kass has added another five scores rushing.
Jeff Ashley (11 reception, 175 yards, two TDs) is the only receiver with double-digit catches.
Wofford wins games the old-school way in the FCS, by using a punishing ground attack and playing solid defense (18 ppg allowed).
Mike McCrimon has a team-high 50 tackles and he has also recorded two of the team's seven interceptions. Alvin Scioneaux has 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, both tops on the team.
The South Carolina offense has been clicking in recent weeks as it has put up 38 points in back-to-back games to bring its season average to 32.6 ppg.
The Gamecocks will be without star running back Marcus Lattimore for the remainder of the season after he suffered a horrific knee injury against Tennessee a few weeks ago. In his absence last week, Mike Davis (53 yards, TD) and Kenny Miles (37 yards) found moderate success on the ground.
"I think it was all right," Miles said of the running game against Arkansas. "I don't think I did too great. There were a few plays were I felt like I could have broke but got tripped up. Things like that I feel like we got a lot of improvement as a whole, but I felt like, for me personally, I could have done a lot better."
Without Lattimore, quarterback Connor Shaw will need to shoulder more of the load. He has completed nearly 66 percent of his passes for 1,610 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also may need to seize more opportunities to make plays with his legs (321 rushing yards, three TDs).
Bruce Ellington has put together a nice season at receiver with 28 receptions for 470 yards and a four touchdowns, and he has played his best in the past two weeks (11 receptions, 205 yards, two TDs). Ace Sanders (25 receptions, 285 yards) has been a good red-zone threat with five touchdowns.
After such a great start to the season, the Gamecocks defense has shown some vulnerability by allowing 55 points over the last two weeks, but on the year they are still allowing just 18.5 ppg.
Jadeveon Clowney has been one of the best defensive players in the country as he has racked up 43 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Shaq Wilson, D.J. Swearinger, DeVonte Holloman and Jimmy Legree have two interceptions apiece.