Saturday, October 1, 2011
Halftime: Auburn 9, South Carolina 6
By Edward Aschoff
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- We are finally out of that ugly first half and Auburn leads South Carolina 9-6:
Stat of the half: South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore had just 36 yards on nine carries heading into the half. Coming into the game, Auburn's rush defense was the worst in the SEC, giving up 226.5 yards per game. The Tigers' defense has packed the box and isn't giving Lattimore much breathing room at all.
Player of the half: Even though his team is losing, South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram has been a beast yet again for the Gamecocks. He has six tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and had a huge interception on a fake field goal right before the half.
What Auburn needs to do: The Tigers need to keep handing the ball off to Michael Dyer. He is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry at the half, but he has come very close to breaking a few long runs here and there. If Auburn is going to wear down this defense, Dyer is the man to get the job done. He has 69 yards on 21 carries. Also, the defense needs to bring more pressure on Garcia. He started the game off well, but he made some poor throws in the second quarter, including an interception on a badly overthrown ball up the middle. The more pressure, the more mistakes he's prone to make.
What South Carolina needs to do: For South Carolina to regain the lead, the offensive mistakes have to get cleaned up. After starting the game off well, the Gamecocks regressed in the second quarter. The penalties are starting to mount and Garcia is getting a little rattled. Lattimore has been a non-factor thus far, so other running threats need to emerge for this offense. Also, only two players have caught passes for the Gamecocks -- Alshon Jeffery (four catches for 67 yards) and Brandon Wilds (one catch for 14 yards). Stats like that won't win you many games. The Gamecocks are a little too one-dimensional right now, and even the league's worst defense is stopping them.