Alabama faces South Carolina on Saturday in Columbia, SC. Here are your three keys to a Alabama win over South Carolina.
By Steve Wright
Things get serious in a hurry for Alabama after a slow-starting win (42-3) over Duke and a lazy Saturday in the park (62-10) over New Mexico State. Next up is a South Carolina squad that lost 24-20 – after blowing a lead – to Mack Brown’s North Carolina in week one, before getting very, very mad and putting 72 points up against Charleston Southern last weekend.
Here are the three keys for the Crimson Tide’s first SEC clash of the season.
Key 1 – Tua to Jeudy
This is a key that is going to run for the whole season. There may be no better of quarterback and No. 1 wide receiver in the country this season than Tua Tagovailoa to Jerry Jeudy. The ‘Bama wide receiving star is a true student of the game, a player who has made himself better by practicing and/or studying the play of the likes of Antonio Brown, Calvin Ridley, and Julio Jones.
Jeudy had 10 catches for 137 yards against Duke. In that game Tua to Jeudy was the only offense Alabama had in the first half. He followed that up with 103 yards and a school record-equaling three touchdowns against New Mexico State. If this combination gets hot it is game over for the Gamecocks.
Key 2 – Which South Carolina shows up
You can look at this key two ways. Alabama is a good enough team to decide which South Carolina side shows up against them on Saturday. Those two options are the ones that blew a 20-9 lead against North Carolina (and a freshman quarterback) or the team that blew Charleston Southern off of the field in record-breaking ways last time out. Alabama is clearly far better than both those teams, but there was noticeably more mental energy and physical effort from the Gamecocks against CSU.
If that team shows up, then it will be a tougher game for Alabama than some expect.
Key 3 – Pressure Ryan Hilinski
South Carolina is one of a number of schools to have lost their starting quarterback early in the 2019 season. Jake Bentley – a player of whom much was expected – suffered a season-ending injury to his mid-foot in the opener. That injury put freshman Ryan Hilinski into the starting lineup for the game against Charleston Southern and he acquitted himself well to the role.
There is, of course, a slight difference though between playing against a middle of the road FCS defense and facing off against Alabama and a starting 11 one the defensive side of the ball that will all end up in the NFL. Pressuring Hilinski, both by confusing him with schemes and sheer physical dominance, will allow Alabama to run away with this one.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 2:30 PM CT (3:30 PM ET). Watch on the CBS Network.
This Week’s SEC Football News and Analysis
|Game||First Looks||3 Keys|
|Kansas State vs. Mississippi State||KSU||MSU||Preview||KSU 31, MSU 24||Stats|
|Colorado State vs. Arkansas||CSU||Arky||Preview||Arkansas 55, CSU 34||Stats|
|Northwestern St vs. LSU||NWSU||LSU||Preview||LSU 65, NWSU 14||Stats|
|Florida vs. Kentucky||FLA / UK||UK / FLA||Preview||Florida 29, UK 21||Stats|
|Kent State vs. Auburn||Kent St.||Auburn||Preview||Auburn 55, Kent St. 16||Stats|
|Alabama vs. South Carolina||USC / Bama||Bama / USC||Preview||Bama 47, USC 23||Stats|
|SE Missouri St vs. Missouri||SEMO||Mizzou||Preview||Mizzou 50, SEMO 0||Stats|
|Lamar vs. Texas A&M||Lamar||Texas A&M||Preview||TAMU 62, Lamar 3||Stats|
|Arkansas St. vs. Georgia||Ark. State||UGA||Preview||UGA 55, ASU 0||Stats|
|Chattanooga vs. Tennessee||UTC||Tennessee||Preview||Tennessee 45, UTC 0||Stats|
|SE Louisiana vs. Ole Miss||SE Louisiana||Ole Miss||Preview||Ole Miss 40, SELA 29||Stats|