2012 College Football Breakdown: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. East Carolina Pirates

Location: Greenville, NC

Students: 27,816 ( 20,794 undergraduate)

Head Coach: Ruffin McNeill ( 3rd season as head coach, 12-14 record as head coach)

Last Weeks Game: Defeated App State 35-13

Record vs. USC: USC leads the series 11-5, including last years win 56-37 in Charlotte

The Gamecock's are coming off a hard fought victory in Nashville last week, will look to improve all aspects of the offense this weekend at home against ECU.  Starting QB Connor Shaw might not play after injuring his shoulder last week, which means the running game will need to stop up this week.  Last week against Vandy, Lattimore lead the way with 110 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.  A noon kickoff in Columbia will mean warm weather and a smaller crowd.  I don't know if this will effect the game but look for the Gamecocks to get off to a slow start against the Pirates.

ECU Offense:  East Carolina's offense will be lead by junior quarterback Rio Johnson.  Last week, Johnson passed for 242 yards and two touchdowns.  Johnson's two favorite targets are Justin Jones and Reece Wiggins, who combined for 8 receptions and 90 yards last week against App State.  As for the running game, the Pirates are lead by Michael Dobson, who rushed for 78 yards on 19 carries.  The offense hasn't been a problem for the Pirates under McNeill, last year ECU finished in the top half in C-USA in both scoring offense and total offense.  

ECU Defense: The Pirate's defense is lead by Linebacker Jeremy Grove who recorded 9 tackles and 2 forced fumbles last week.  The Pirates are also lead by linebacker Kyle Tudor who recorded 11 tackles last week.  The Pirates have had trouble on defense the last couple years.  Last year they allowed 32 points per game and 376 yards per game.  

What Might Happen:  The Gamecock offense couldn't look much worst after last weeks performance in Nashville, but if Connor Shaw does not play, it might be another sloppy game.  Look for Spurrier to relay on Lattimore to get the job done once again.  ECU didn't look great last week against App State, but they got the job done.  Hopefully the coaching staff can get Dylan Thompson ready to play, but don't look for a burst in the passing game.  The weapons are there, but can Spurrier call the right plays to get them the ball.  Being at home should help, and the Pirates defense isn't that good.   

I personally think Shaw will play at some point on Saturday, giving the gamecock's offense a major boost.  Weather Shaw plays or not, the Gamecock's will still have to figure out how to get the ball down field in the air.  Look for ECU to stack the box in hopes of stopping Lattimore.   Lattimore will get his 100 yards rushing and  a couple scores, very similar to last week.  I think the passing game will be better this week, as ECU's secondary is not as good as Vandy's.

Score Prediction: USC 34 East Carolina 17  

Saturday will also be the debut of the new Farmers market tailgating lots and video/score board.  Please let us know what you thought of the upgrades on twitter at @MooseLOHD.

Go Gamecocks

Get more great college football analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.


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