Line: Alabama That's about how the day went for No. Tagovailoa passed for three touchdowns and ran 25 yards for a fourth, all in the first half of the Crimson Tide's victory over New Mexico State Saturday.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. Through two weeks, Alabama ranks 31st in the country in rushing offense, however, they haven't had a single ball carrier eclipse the yard mark. Part of that is due to circumstance, having big leads and giving many guys carries, part of that also has been the running game has been up to the standard that Nick Saban expects.
South Carolina has a talented defensive front and in a raucous environment, it will be interesting to see how Alabama tries to establish command at the line of scrimmage and see where their offensive line is against an SEC defensive front.
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian knows he can throw the ball around the lot with his uber-talented quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, and quartet of wide receivers, but establishing the run and imposing their will in the trenches is the hallmark of Alabama football and something Sarkisian will be looking to establish for the first time in In the Gamecocks' season debut against North Carolina, the Tar Heels gashed South Carolina for rushing yards, so Alabama should believe they can do the same, if not more.
Insert highly touted freshman Ryan Hilinski.
Making his collegiate debut last week, Hilinski, completed 24 of 30 passes for yards and two touchdowns in a point blowout of FCS member Charleston Southern. Hilinski earned the backup job in spring ball after enrolling early from high school and looked every bit the part last weekend.
Will Muschamp's offensive line must protect Hilinski against much stiffer competition this week.
One way the Gamecocks can help their quarterback is by running the ball effectively. That starts with senior running back Rico Dowdle.
He will need to have a day similar to Marcus Lattimore in the upset of Alabama. In that game, Lattimore, a freshman, had 93 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
When Hilinski drops back, expect 6-foot-3 senior wideout Bryan Edwards to be his favorite target.
Last week, Edwards posted five catches that went for yards and two touchdowns. Finding balance will be paramount for South Carolina to give its freshman signal-caller a chance to succeed against a top-notch defense like Alabama's.
Final Analysis Nick Saban is always seeking teaching moments. You can guarantee that he has told his players what happened nine years ago when Alabama last visited Williams-Brice Stadium. The Tide enter this contest just short of being a four-touchdown road favorite.
I would give South Carolina an outside chance if Jake Bentley was under center, but that's not the case.
Ryan Hilinski will need to find immediate success, build on his confidence, and eliminate any early jitters if the Gamecocks are to pull off a monumental upset.
Expect emotions and energy to be high, with the possibility that South Carolina is able to jump out to an early lead. But as the game settles in, the Tide will wear down an overmatched Gamecocks squad.
This game will be closer than the experts think, but Bama prevails. Nick is a Morning Show Host in Nashville on Follow him on Twitter NickKayal. Event Sport:.