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Sunday, January 1, 2012
Capital One Bowl: Keys for S. Carolina

By Chris Low

A look at three keys to the game for South Carolina in its Capital One Bowl matchup with Nebraska on Monday:

1. Balance on offense: The Gamecocks don’t want to put sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw in a position where he has to throw. Instead, they want to be able to run the ball successfully, use Shaw some in the zone read portion of their running game and then hit some big plays in the passing game. This will likely be junior receiver Alshon Jeffery’s final game in a South Carolina uniform. He needs to be a factor in this game if the Gamecocks are going to win.

2. Force Martinez to throw: There’s a reason Nebraska is ranked 103rd nationally in passing offense. The Cornhuskers would rather run it than throw it. Quarterback Taylor Martinez didn’t throw any interceptions in his final four games, and the Huskers would prefer to throw it no more than 23 to 25 times. He threw it a season-high 37 times in the loss to Northwestern and only completed nine passes two weeks later in the loss to Michigan.

3. Get off to a good start: One of the common denominators for South Carolina in its bowl misery is getting off to slow starts. The Gamecocks would like to change that. Playing with the lead would be nice, especially when your defense is playing as well as the Gamecocks are entering this game.