Auburn Football vs. South Carolina preview and prediction

Auburn football will hit the road to face the South Carolina Gamecocks for an early kickoff Saturday. The game begins at noon ET. ESPN will handle the broadcast. Weather conditions are projected to more favorable than it was in Auburn last week against Arkansas.

South Carolina wants to ride the wave of a confidence-boosting win at Vanderbilt last weekend. The Gamecocks rolled Vanderbilt by a count of 41-7.

Auburn escaped with a win at home last Saturday against the Arkansas. It has been well documented that Auburn stole a win from the Razorbacks. Football is a strange game sometimes. The Tigers were fortunate to get the better end of an officiating error.

Here is a breakdown of Saturday morning’s matchup between these cross-division foes.

Auburn offense vs. South Carolina defense

South Carolina has the SEC’s fourth best scoring defense and is ranked third in total defense. The Gamecocks have played a couple good offenses in Florida and Tennessee. South Carolina’s defensive statistics got a boost with the game against Vanderbilt. They were able to hold Florida’s offense under 40. Its defense is third in passing yards allowed and fourth in rushing yards allowed in the SEC. It is safe to assume head coach Will Muschamp will have his defense ready to play on Saturday. It is worth noting that Muschamp was Auburn’s defensive coordinator for the 2015 season. Therefore, Muschamp has an idea of what Auburn football head coach Gus Malzahn likes to run on offense.

Auburn’s offense has struggled so far this season. It finally broke 30 points against a decent Arkansas defense, although seven of those points should be credited to Jordyn Peter’s blocked punt recovered for a touchdown. Auburn is 11th in scoring offense out of 14 SEC teams. Its offense is scoring just 21.7 points per outing. Only Vanderbilt has moved the ball less than Auburn, as the Tigers are 13th in total offense. They have averaged just 328 yards of offense per game.

Both Tennessee and Florida averaged more than eight yards per pass against South Carolina. Tennessee was able to run for four yards per carry in its tussle with the Gamecocks. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris is tasked with formulating a plan to move the ball against a solid South Carolina defense. Morris might benefit from looking into how Tennessee attacked Carolina. Tennessee ran the ball 33 times and threw it on 32 occasions. This is a similar ratio Auburn has utilized this year. Finding ways to get wide receiver Seth Williams the ball should be a priority for Morris.

South Carolina offense vs. Auburn defense

South Carolina’s offense put up some decent numbers this season. Its offense ranks sixth in the conference in rushing yards per game. The Gamecocks have just the 10th ranked passing offense. Ole Miss and South Carolina are tied for second in the conference in rushing touchdowns. Carolina ranks ninth in total offense. Slightly below average might be an accurate assessment toward its offense. It ranks sixth in the conference in scoring. Some might accredit that to the caliber of defenses it has played. Tennessee has the seventh best scoring defense in the SEC, Vanderbilt is 10th and Florida is 11th.

The Auburn defense is second in the conference in scoring defense. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele’s unit has given up some yards this year. Steele’s defense has given up 421 yards per game. This ranks eighth in the conference. Auburn is seventh against the pass and 10th against the run in the SEC. The mantra has been bend but don’t break for this unit in 2020. The Tigers’ defense looked tremendous against Kentucky in the opener. It forced three turnovers in that game, which ended up being the difference. It was not able to force Georgia and Arkansas into the same mistakes. The Tigers’ defense looked vulnerable in each of those contests. It gave up more than 400 yards to both squads. The difference in the game might be whether South Carolina can convert its red zone opportunities.

Just like the first three games of the season, a key to the game for Auburn football will be the performance of its offensive line. If Auburn can negate a consistent South Carolina pass rush, it has a good chance to win. Auburn faced a good passing offense in Arkansas last week. Auburn was not ready. Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 318 yards and over 10 yards per pass attempt. Franks added four touchdowns to cap a dominating outing. The Gamecocks quarterback Collin Hill is eighth in the conference in passing yards. Neither offense has been overly impressive. This will be a grind it out game. The winner will be the team that can put some good drives together. To this point, South Carolina has looked a little better on offense.

South Carolina 23, Auburn 20

Photo courtesy of