Ole Miss vs. South Carolina Preview
Posted By:Jay Wright - Greenville, SC Tags:
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#4 Ole Miss at South Carolina (7:30, ESPN) We all know the hype surrounding the Ole Miss Rebels this season. We know about Houston Nutt, Jevan Snead and the rest of the bunch. Houston Nutt has done a wonderful job thus far at Ole Miss, but can he take them to the next level? There is no question that he has inherited talent in his last two stops. In 1998 he inherited a very talented bunch left behind by Clemson legend Danny Ford. The 1998 Arkansas team barely lost to the eventual National Champion Tennessee. Arkansas fans remember all to well Clint Stoerner using the football as a kick stand while trying to run out the clock, thus ruining their undefeated record. Houston's Arkansas team in 1998 seems to have a lot in common with his 2008 Rebels. There is no doubt that historically Houston Nutt teams play well against great teams and last year was no different (defeated eventual National Champion Florida 31-30). All of this of course is something to be encouraged about if you are an Ole Miss fan.
However, the ability to beat teams that are perceived as less talented has evaded Houston Nutt at times. For instance, after narrowly losing toTennessee in 1998, they proceeded to lose to a far less talented team, Miss. St. 22-21. In 2008, a week after toppling the #1 team in the country, Nutt’s Rebels proceeded to lose to South Carolina 31-24. Even this year Ole Miss has struggled some what against lower tier teams. However, last years game should be taken with a grain of salt by Carolina fans. This year is completely different. This is a nationally televised Thursday night game. The Ole Miss Defense is widely regarded as one of the best in the SEC.I highly doubt the Rebels will be looking past this game. Also, South Carolina is just 1-31 all time against top 5 teams. The last win was against #3 North Carolina in 1981, which was a bright spot in a year that has haunted every South Carolina fan since.
If there is a time to finally break the streak this is it. The Gamecocks are playing a top 5 team at home that has yet to prove their worth and probably has less depth all around than any of the current top 5 teams. The Gamecock offense seems to have found its stride and the defense played awesome at times. I think the key to the game is in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Garcia looked great against Georgia, but I think you can expect a lot more blitzing by the Rebel defense. We can also expect Ellis Johnson to come after Snead to take pressure of the Gamecocks young secondary. This will put the game squarely on the shoulders of the offensive line and defensive line. If they do their job I believe South Carolina has a real shot. In order for the Gamecocks to win, it will take a complete effort on both sides of the ball, which is something we have not seen this year. Here’s hoping tomorrow night is a good one in Gamecock Country, I know Willie B will be rocking tonight and I’m looking forward to it!
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