Scouting report: MSU at South Carolina

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has not lived up to the preseason hype, but he's still a formidable defender and a sure first-round NFL Draft choice. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has not lived up to the preseason hype, but he’s still a formidable defender and a sure first-round NFL Draft choice. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KEYS FOR VICTORY

1. Stop the momentum

South Carolina will be riding an emotional high coming off its comeback victory in double overtime against Missouri. The Gamecocks rallied from behind 17-0 in the fourth quarter to tie things up and handed Missouri its first loss this season.

Mississippi State needs to get ahead early to keep the momentum from spilling over into this game as well.

2. Play four quarters

The Bulldogs have yet to string together a complete game all season. MSU has outscored its opponents 163-79 in the first half this season, held serve in the third quarter 31-29 and have been blown out 17-52 in the fourth.

If the Bulldogs can keep the same level of consistency in the second half as it plays in the first then today’s game could also go down to the wire.

3. Shaw sack redemption

In 2011 it was South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw who tossed a 4-yard touchdown to Alshon Jeffery in the waning minutes to defeat the Bulldogs 14-12 in Starkville. Shaw is now a senior and entered the game in time to lead the Gamecocks from behind against Missouri last week.

Shaw sprained his knee against Tennessee and missed multiple days of practice this week with a virus. MSU needs to take advantage of the situation and bring pressure.

WHAT TO WATCH

When MSU has the ball

Tyler Russell sprained his ankle in his first series against Kentucky and did not return. It will be interesting to see if Dan Mullen chooses to rotate Russell back into the mix or continues to let Dak Prescott run the show at quarterback.

Prescott has accounted for 1,701 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns this season while Russell has completed 20 of 27 passing (74.1-percent) for 258 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions since returning from a concussion.

The Bulldogs are on pace for its most productive year on offense in school history averaging 456 yards per game while still maintaining balance with 250.6 yards passing and 205.4 yards on the ground. However, State’s best ever offensive average ranks only ninth in the SEC this season.

When S.C. has the ball

South Carolina is rolling up 475.1 yards on offense and 31.9 points per game this season. The Gamecocks are ranked sixth in the conference in both rushing (205.9) and passing (269.2).

Sophomore Mike Davis leads the league with 116.2 yards per game and is gaining 6.2 yards per carry. Davis has chewed up 930 yards on 151 carries and has scored 10 touchdowns.

Shaw has completed 64.4-percent of his passes this year for 1,508 yards, 14 touchdowns and only one interception.

CRUCIAL MATCHUP

MSU LT Blaine Clausell vs. USC DE Jadeveon Clowney

For the second straight week, Clausell is spotlighted with a huge task ahead of him.

Last week, Clausell surrendered a sack to Kentucky’s Za’Darius Smith and would be better suited not to do so today. Clowney is considered by many to be the top defensive player in college football but has underachieved so far that season. Bulldog fans need that trend to continue.

Logan Lowery