South Carolina’s pass defense is the second-best in the SEC to Alabama. It’s third-best in the nation behind Michigan State and the Tide.
Not too shabby, eh?
On the season, the Cocks have allowed just 1087 yards through the air and 508 of those came in Carolina’s first two games against East Carolina and Georgia.
So what changed from those first two games to the last six?
“There are not as many checks and audibles,” safety DaVonte Holloman told The Charleston Post & Courier. “We’re not making as many pre-snap calls.”
Steve Spurrier said that “there are fewer mistakes” as well. “I think that’s a big part of it, and just the guys playing hard, playing their assignments, playing with effort.”
Fewer pre-snap calls. Fewer mistakes. Better play.
Yes, yes and yes.
But there’s also this factor — take a look at who Carolina has played:
||Passing Offense National Rank
||Yds Vs Carolina
There’s been a pretty steep drop-off in the passing ability of Carolina’s opponents over the past few weeks. And don’t forget, the Tennessee of that high national ranking is quite different than the Tennessee USC faced on Saturday night… the one with the true freshman quarterback making his first start.
This doesn’t mean that Carolina’s secondary hasn’t improved and hasn’t played well in recent weeks. But it does mean anyone expecting the Gamecocks to squelch Arkansas’ passing game on Saturday will likely come away disappointed.
The Razorbacks — for comparison’s sake — rank 9th nationally in passing offense. And unless Melvin Ingram, Jadeveon Clowney and the Carolina pass rushers can mount some serious pressure, Tyler Wilson will likely put up some passing numbers reminiscent of those posted by ECU and Georgia earlier this season.