South Carolina NC State Football

South Carolina's Jake Bentley, left, aims a pass as Gamecocks linemen keep the North Carolina State defense contained during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

BOB LEVERONE, AP Photo

Saturday could be a changing of the guard in the SEC

One of the conference’s up-and-coming quarterbacks, Jake Bentley, heads to Missouri to battle one of the best SEC quarterbacks over the last few years in Drew Lock.

Both are similar drop-back passers who can hurt defenses with their feet in a pinch, but the resemblances don’t stop there.

“They throw the ball extremely well. Both guys can make all the throws: the touch throw, the long throw. Obviously, directing their offense at a high level,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “Certainly both guys are capable and have done it. (There are) A lot of similarities as far as those things are concerned in throwing the football and taking the ball to the right spot, no question.”

Lock started his first game in as a freshman in 2015 against South Carolina, beating the Gamecocks 24-10. Bentley’s third-career start was a 31-21 victory against the Tigers at home.

But when the two quarterbacks’ stats over their first eight starts, it seems like Bentley’s had a better start to his career than Lock.

Over the first eight career starts, Lock went 2-6 while Bentley is 5-3 and led the Gamecocks from a 2-4 start to a berth in the Birmingham Bowl.

Their stats over their first eight starts are pretty telling as well.

Drew Lock: 114-248 (46 percent completion), 1,107 yards, three touchdowns, seven interceptions, 86.58 average passer rating.

Jake Bentley: 142-218 (65.1 percent completion), 1,635 yards, 12 touchdowns, five interceptions, 136.75 average passer rating.

Lock is one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC and could likely hear his name called in the draft this April. Last week he threw for 521 and tied a SEC record with seven touchdown passes.

Bentley knows how good Lock is, but said his mentality doesn’t change regardless of which quarterback is on the other sideline.

“He’s a great quarterback. They have a great offense, but the name of the game is to score more points than them,” Bentley said. “We’re going to come in there with the same mindset as we do every other game. That’s to score on every drive. If we do that, then we’ll be fine.”

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