Blanton is a sophomore from Jackson who attended Madison-Ridgeland Academy. The two-sport athlete was committed to play baseball at MSU, but after in-home visits from late Bulldogs coach Mike Leach and South Carolina coach Shane Beamer, Blanton picked the Gamecocks.
The former 2022 four-star has already become a key piece in South Carolina’s defense. He’s fourth on the team with 16 tackles, which includes a sack. For Rogers, a 2020 prospect out of Brandon High School, the success has been expected.
“He’s from Mississippi, so you’re never surprised to see a Mississippi guy succeed,” Rogers said Monday.
The Bulldogs (2-1, 0-1 SEC) will need to slow Blanton and the Gamecocks (1-2, 0-1) down if coach Zach Arnett wants his offense to take a step forward on Saturday (6:30 p.m., SEC Network).
Mississippi State offense vs. South Carolina defense
South Carolina has had perhaps the toughest schedule in the SEC, facing North Carolina, Furman and Georgia. It’s part of why the Gamecocks rank last in total defense in the conference.
With Mississippi State ranking last in total offense, something has to give. Offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay said he was, “disappointed and embarrassed” after MSU put up 201 yards of offense in last week’s 41-14 loss against LSU.
Can Mississippi State finally find its rhythm or will the South Carolina defense take a step forward?
Mississippi State defense vs. South Carolina offense
It’s not surprising to see MSU’s offense struggle as a new system is implemented. The same can’t be said for the defense.
MSU lost four starters in the secondary, but even the returning veterans on the defense front have struggled. Mississippi State failed to get to LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, who completed 30 of his 34 attempts.
MSU has struggled to contain dual-threat quarterbacks, and South Carolina’s quarterback Spencer Rattler falls into that category.
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LSU punted just twice against MSU, which resulted in no returns for Zavion Thomas, who finished second in the SEC last season with 13.47 yards per punt return. Mississippi State’s defense needs to take a step forward for numerous reasons. Giving Thomas a chance to return more punts is among those.
Mississippi State score prediction vs South Carolina
South Carolina 31, Mississippi State 20: MSU has two many holes on both sides of the ball right now. Rattler should have a strong day en route to an easy win.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State score prediction vs South Carolina: College football