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It is almost time ladies and gentlemen and I could not be more fired up for the start of football season at Williams-Brice Stadium on a beautiful Thursday night with a national audience with only one game to watch. That is right it will be the Gamecocks v. Tarheels for the right to call yourself the real “Carolina”. It is a great game and a rivalry that should be played every season. With that said let's take a look at this game.
North Carolina is coming to Williams-Brice with a lot of optimism but not as many answers. What they do know is that Bryn Renner is a very good senior QB. They know that they have weapons on the edge at receiver with Quinshad Davis, Kendrick Singleton and Sean Tapley. They also know they have a very solid left tackle in James Hurst. But pretty much everywhere else there are a bunch of questions. The have two freshmen starting on the offensive line. They lost all-everything RB Giovanni Bernard and will have to try to replace him by committee. Also on defense they have a ton of questions after they lost some of their most talented players to the NFL from a unit that was not very good to begin with. I know it sounds like I am giving them no chance but they do have a chance and it rests of Bryn Renner's arm and Larry Fedora's system. Fedora is going to spread South Carolina out and run a series of quick passes as an extension of the running game to try to neutralize the impact of our defensive line. If they can get into a rhythm they can be hard to stop.
As for the Gamecocks we have some questions as well. Is Mike Davis, Wilds and Carson going to be able to provide enough in the running game? Which WR is going to elevate his game to a new level after the loss of Ace? How will we replace Swearinger on the defense who was our emotional leader? Those are important questions that we will start to get answers to tomorrow night. What we do know is that Connor is going to take care of the ball and use his legs to extend plays and make big plays for this offense. We also know that our offensive line this year is a bunch of monsters with all of them over 315 pounds. North Carolina's defense could not stop the run against anyone last season so I have a feeling we should see Davis, Wilds and Carson with some massive holes to run through. I also expect our defensive line to completely eliminate their running game letting our linebackers and safeties use their speed to get out to the perimeter and disrupt the short passing game.
I think that we are going to be able to run the ball and dominate the time of possession keeping North Carolina off the field and not allowing Renner to get in any kind of rhythm. I also think our crowd is going to be going crazy similar to the Georgia game last year and make this environment near impossible for the North Carolina offense.
Prediction – Gamecocks 38 – Tarheels 17.
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