Opponent: Jacksonville State (AL)
When: 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Where: Gainesville, Florida – The Swamp
Television: Pay-Per-View (In-state)
On offense the Gamecocks are diverse and employ a two back running game that is averaging over 205 yards a game and a passing game averaging just over 225 yards per game through the air.
The leader on offense is quarterback Marques Ivory (6-1, 235, SR) Ivory is very efficient with 1917 passing yards on the year to go along with 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He’s athletic enough that his sack yardage doesn’t hurt him and has 65 positive rushing yards on the season as well. He is in the top five of several career statistical categories among Jacksonville State quarterbacks.
Ivory’s favorite target by far is flanker Alan Bonner (5-11, 168, SR) who is looking to get to the 1,000 yard mark on the season with his 47 catches for 836 yards (17.6 yards per catch) and also adding eight touchdowns on the season. Split ends Trey Smith (6-5, 220, SR) and Kevyn Cooper (6-1, 197, SR) are next on the list and both have tallied 309 yards receiving and a touchdown each.
The diversity comes in their running game with University of Georgia transfer Washaun Ealey (5-11, 215, SR) and DaMarcus James (5-10, 220, SO) imploring more of a two tail back look to the offense. The duo has combined for 1555 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. James has 837 yards to his name so far this season while Ealey has tallied 10 of the touchdowns.
the offensive line is one of the smallest florida will see all year anchored on the left side by two seniors in left tackle Odie Rush (6-3, 292, SR) and left guard
Tori Mobley (6-3, 280, SR). Right tackle Tarik Milner (6-3, 280, SO) missed his first start of the season last week and right guard Blake Burks (6-2, 310, SO) played left guard for the first half of the season before he and Mobley switched positions.
Keys to stopping JSU: They are small up front and probably will have a hard time contending with Florida’s size and quickness up front on defense. Florida should win battle all the way around with their physicality on defense and the fact they are just as fast or faster on the field than most that JSU can bring.
The Gamecocks don’t offer much resistance on defense and it starts with a very small defensive line and the smallest by far that Florida will see all year. The most disruptive guy up front is defensive tackle Dimetrio Tyson (6-2, 275, SR) who leads the team in tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (3.0). Nose tackle Caleb Lawrence (6-0, 270, SO) is undersized as well but has a very nice 48 tackles to his name for that position. Defensive end Mikel Whittier (6-3, 212, JR) rounds up the group up front.
The linebackers are also small but very active. WILL Rashad Smith (6-1, 210, JR) leads the team in tackles with 84 and in forced fumbles (2). MIKE backer Ben Endress (6-1, 200, SO) is second on the team in tackles but is really undersized to play in the middle of the defense. The two outside linebackers Dustin Gayton (6-1, 225, SO) and James Powell (6-1, 210, JR) have am,assed just 39 tackles on the year with Gayton starting his first game a week ago.
The Gamecock pass defense has only tallied nine interceptions this year but six have come in the last four games. Rookie cornerback Jermaine Hough (5-9, 163, FR) leads the team interceptions (3) and has been a boon for the defense in his first year. Fellow cornerback Rashod Byers (5-8, 170, SO) is thrd on the team in tackles and is a play maker on this side of the ball. The two are not big on stature and can be matched up with taller guys. At safety, Pierre Warren (6-1, 195, SO) and Robert Gray (5-11, 195, JR) are also two of the top tacklers on defense. Both are steady contributors, but not big play makers.
Keys to exploiting the defense: Despite Florida’s offensive woes heading into the game this is a very bad defense the gators are going up against, They really should be able to exact their will against the Gamecocks neither through the aor or on the ground. I expect that to happen.
Freshman punter Hamish MacInnes (6-1, 175, FR) has an okay 38.7 net punting average. Place kicker Griffin Thomas (5-11, 170, JR) has made 10 of 17 field goals on the season. Neither is anything to write home about.
Kick returner Telvin Brown (5-9, 167, FR) is 12th in the country among FCS schools with a very nice 27.4 yard return average. Alan Bonner (5-11, 168, SR) has been the team’s punt returner but has just 87 total yards on the season.
BOTTOM LINE: the gamecocks could make a play or two on offense, but Florida’s defense should prove to be way too much for them overall. Defensively, the jaguars have been so porous and are so small, Florida should be able to call their plays and have great success if they just don’t continue to shoot themselves in the foot. The Gamecock special teams don’t seem to have any real threats as well and Florida’s special teams have been special for most of the year. All of this amounts to an easy win for the seniors in their last home game.