Columbia, SC (Charles Bennett, Greenville Online)- If there's one thing that helps South Carolina in preparing for for its Capital One Bowl game against Wisconsin, it's that the Gamecocks won't have to spend a lot of time guessing what the Badgers will do.
"They'll run zone, run power," said South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. "You know what you're going to get. You just have to stop it."
Stopping it is where things get tricky.
The Badgers average 283 yards rushing per game, eighth best in the nation. Wisconsin has two backs who have rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season in Melvin Gordon (181 carries for 1,466 yards with 12 touchdowns) and James White (209 carries for 1,357 yards with 13 touchdowns).
"They can run the ball pretty well," said South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, proving a talent for understatement along with his other attributes. "They've got a good running team. They're going to try and pound it at us. We've got be ready to stop the run. We'll be ready to stop it. I think we're going to go out there and do well and stop the run and win the game."
South Carolina has been solid against the run most of the season. The Gamecocks allow 142.3 yards per game, which ranks the Gamecocks 33rd in the nation.
Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles says the Gamecocks must take a disciplined approach against the Wisconsin running game.
"They have two good backs, they have a big offensive line," Quarles said. "You have to stay in your gaps, stay low and stay in your lanes. I feel like if we go out there focused and play the scheme and don't play outside the scheme, contain and do your , we'll be perfectly fine."
Quarles compares the Badgers to Nebraska, a team the Gamecocks beat 30-13 in the 2012 Capitol One Bowl.
"That's what football is all about," Quarles said. "Big, physical guys coming off the ball and just road-grading people. That's what they're known for. When we were getting ready to play Nebraska, we knew what we were getting into. We're ready for it. We play teams that run the ball week in, week out.
"I feel like we're going to be very prepared for their running backs."
Ward also has concerns about stopping the Wisconsin passing game.
"They do a good job running the football," Ward said, "but don't be misled, they throw the football awfully well, also."
Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,414 yards with 20 touchdowns.
If Stave has a weakness, it's that he's interception-prone. He has thrown 12.
However, first things first for the Gamecocks, and that's stopping the run.
"We've got to go in there with our big boy pads on," Gamecocks defensive end Chaz Sutton said. "We've got to use our speed, and we have to play with great leverage, the gaps right and play assignment football. If we can execute, we can win the game up front."