With both offenses struggling coming into this Saturday’s match up, the game could very well come down to one big play. The two best play-makers on the field, Justin Miller and Troy Williamson, will be going against each other all afternoon. Both have had breakout seasons once again this year after disappointing previous seasons.
Troy Williamson has always had the natural ability to make plays, but had struggled catching the football coming into this year. Williamson has elevated himself to a level where he now has a legitimate shot to be a first day pick in April’s NFL draft and possible All-American considerations. When South Carolina has needed a big play, Williamson has come through. Almost single handily Williamson carried South Carolina to bowl eligibility with the win over Arkansas. After Williamson went down with an ankle bruise against Florida, it was clear that the Gamecocks no longer had a big play threat.
Justin Miller may have had the best freshman season ever for a Clemson defensive back. Miller picked off eight passes his freshman season. Miller went through a tremendous sophomore slump last season. In his junior season, Miller has not picked off the number of passes he did his freshman year, but that is mainly due to the fact that teams are staying away from his side of the field. Most NFL scouts project Miller as one of the top five corners in the draft. What may have rejuvenated Miller was his play in the return game. As Miller continued to thrive on returns, he started once again becoming a lock down corner.
This has set the stage for a marquee match up Saturday night. It may not be a stretch to say the winner of this battle may give his team the needed edge to win the game. Williamson averages over 20 yards a catch, so Miller will have to be ready to defend the deep ball. South Carolina’s passing game will give Williamson chances at a jump ball situation 30-40 yards down field at least once a quarter. While Miller has a reputation of making teams pay in jump ball situations, this is still a 50-50 situation. Also Miller must not let Williamson spring an eight yard curl route into a big play. Curl routes have been somewhat of an achilles heel for Miller. He has definitely improved, but this is definitely something to look for.
Both of these players will look to have a huge performance not only to help their teams, but Miller and Williamson are well aware that NFL scouts will look closely at this match up. Fans and coaches will have their eyes on this match up early and often on Saturday.