3 South Carolina players Mississippi State football fans should watch
Evan Ertel: Give Bulldogs fans three names that they should know headed into Saturday night.
Kevin Miller: On offense, everything starts with Rattler, but everyone knows that. However, his most important teammate on Saturday might be true freshman Tree Babalade. The 4-star left tackle got his first career start against Georgia and didn’t allow a sack. If he can replicate that success against a solid Bulldog front, Rattler will have the chance to pick apart a secondary that has struggled. Watch big No. 51.
On defense, TJ Sanders has been good up front, but he needs some help. The Gamecocks need to get after the passer with more regularity, and Tonka Hemingway is the other player up front who is most capable. No. 91 could get snaps at both end or tackle and will need to have a good day for USC.
The “X Factor” in this game might be a veteran coach and his unit. Pete Lembo is the best special teams coordinator in America, and the Gamecocks fielded the best special teams group in the country in 2022. That has not been the case in 2023. The kicking game has been okay, but the special teams fakes that have flipped games for the Gamecocks in recent years have not been present. Look for that to change if the Gamecocks are to win on Saturday in Williams-Brice Stadium.