Missouri Takes SEC Road Trip To South Carolina
By: Willie Bee
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The Missouri Tigers hoped to score their first SEC win in Columbia a couple of weeks ago. They can still claim it in Columbia this week, though not in the Show Me State and instead on the road in the Palmetto State.
Mizzou hopes to crack the seal with a conference win against the ol' ball coach hisself this Saturday when the Tigers hit the road to take on Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks. The kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium will be televised by CBS beginning at 3:30 p.m. (ET), and the college football odds are stacked against Missouri which is a 10-point road underdog. There has been some downward movement on the total, now at 49 after opening 52½.
Gary Pinkel and Missouri are in fact heading out on the road for the first time this season, and certainly could've picked a better spot for their first SEC dubya than Columbia, SC. Then again, there are no easy SEC locales, even on your home gridiron, and the Tigers did grab a win here seven years ago as smaller road 'dogs. Mizzou also triumphed at a 1979 bowl game in the only other meeting between the schools.
Missouri had a shot at its first win in the new conference a couple of weeks back when Georgia came to Faurot Field. The Tigers built a 17-9 lead early in the third quarter before the Bulldogs got things going in an eventual 41-20 victory as slight 1-point road chalk.
That loss was sandwiched between a couple of wins over Southeastern Louisiana (62-10) and Arizona State (24-20), the former enough to cover a 43½-point line and the latter ending in a 'push' on a 4-point spread.
Defense saved the day for the Tigers in last week's win over the Sun Devils, a game that was played without starting QB James Franklin. The junior suffered an injury to his right shoulder in the loss to Georgia and was replaced in the game against ASU by redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser. Franklin is listed as probable for this week according to the Don Best college football injury report.
Spurrier's USC squad enters the game ranked 7-8 in the AP and coaches polls respectively, and ninth in the latest Don Best Linemakers Poll. The Gamecocks' 3-0 record includes a 17-13 road win over SEC East rival Vanderbilt in the season opener South Carolina failed to cover the 6½-point spread in that contest that never came close to the 44½-point scoreboard hurdle.
The two games since have both gone 'over' while the Gamecocks covered much larger numbers at home against East Carolina and Alabama-Birmingham. They've now won their last six home contests, covering five of the tilts.
South Carolina is also dealing with a banged-up QB for Saturday's date with Mizzou. Connor Shaw has a hairline fracture in his right shoulder, an injury suffered in the win over Vandy. The junior missed the East Carolina game, and left early in the third quarter of last week's win against UAB when the shoulder was re-injured after a hit that resulted in a personal foul penalty on the Blazers.
Shaw will reportedly start this week with sophomore Dylan Thompson waiting in the wings to come on in relief if needed. Thompson had a big day subbing for Shaw with 330 yards passing and three touchdowns in the 48-10 pasting of ECU. He added two more TD passes in the second half last week vs. UAB.
Weather reports for Columbia on Saturday look fine with clear skies and afternoon temps in the upper-80s.