Missouri at No. 7 South Carolina
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
TV: CBS (Chs. 5, 13)
Other story lines
• MUST STOP LATTIMORE: South Carolina features one of the best running backs in the Southeastern Conference in Marcus Lattimore. Despite suffering a knee injury last season, Lattimore has been effective behind an offensive line that has had some issues.
• BLOCK CLOWNEY: Barring injury, sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is almost certain to be a high first-round NFL Draft pick in the future. Missouri do a better job in pass protection against Clowney than it did against a similarly-talented edge rusher in Georgia’s Jarvis Jones two weeks ago.
• RUN THE FOOTBALL: Missouri must establish its running game against a front that could take a cue from Georgia and try to contain the run with six or fewer defenders and drop the rest into coverage. If the Tigers can hurt the Gamecocks with the run, it could lead to more downfield throwing opportunities.
COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel spoke calmly about the state of his special teams Monday, though it is clearly an area of concern.In the aftermath of a 24-20 win over Arizona State in which MU prevailed despite three missed kicks and several poor snaps and holds, Pinkel made it clear that if the Tigers are going to have a special season, these things must be corrected. He then put the onus on himself. “We had a muffed punt return … we had a punt snap over the punter’s head…we had some poor holds and some poor snaps, so (it’s) a combination of all those things, which is just coaching,” Pinkel said. “We work hard at coaching, but the bottom line is it isn’t good enough.” Perhaps that’s why there were no changes on the depth chart Monday. Andrew Baggett, who is three for seven on field goals, is still the starting kicker, while Brad Madison and Mitch Hall remain the snappers and T.J. Moe remains the holder on kicks. Missouri spends the first eight to 10 minutes of every practice working on snaps, holds, fielding kicks, etc., but Pinkel didn’t rule out spending even more time on it in practice this week, adding that special teams are also part of the reason Missouri has been outscored 45-17 in the second half of its last two games. His Tigers will try to break that trend on the road Saturday against South Carolina. “We’ve been in position (to score) and through poor kicks, poor snaps, poor holds and turnovers,” Pinkel said. “Those are things right now that if you come away … from every one of those with a field goal, they’d probably be different games.”
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