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August 29, 2013

Gamecock Sports: Gameday Prediction - Gamecocks vs. UNC

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North vs. South: The Battle of the Carolina’s
It’s a Thursday night kick-off. The season opener for the most promising year in Carolina football history. Led by Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina’s defense looks to be as strong as ever backed by an offense led by two experienced quarterbacks in Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson. With five players receiving Preseason All-SEC Squad awards, the early feeling is that this could be the Gamecocks' year to finally break through the glass ceiling. Will the Gamecock faithful finally be rewarded with an SEC title, a BCS game, or will it be another coulda, shoulda, woulda year in Columbia? Only time will tell but here’s to hoping for the best!

North Carolina
Despite their 8-4 record a year ago, the Tarheels could have easily been a 10-2 team as Coach Spurrier stated in his Sunday afternoon press conference. They are a strong team with a solid core that will compete for the ACC title this year. Bryn Renner is an experienced quarterback who has become a leader for his team and is able to make the decisions necessary to efficiently run the offense. If he continues to make good decisions with the football, this can be a very high scoring offense. While the UNC defense was not their strongest point a year ago, they are making much better decisions and sticking to their assignments. If they can continue to improve in these areas they will give their offense a chance to win the game.

But the UNC offense is going to have to work quickly and efficiently to keep Renner from being pressured and sacked repeatedly, which South Carolina is completely capable of doing. North Carolina’s James Hurst is going to have to have the best game of his career to make sure the offense stays on track. If he and Renner can do their jobs, North Carolina has the chance to start the 2013 season with a huge, upset win.

South Carolina
Unfortunately for the Tarheels, they do not have a consistent answer for Clowney and the rest of the South Carolina defensive front. Coach Spurrier made it clear that they will be moving Clowney around to try and take advantage of the North Carolina offensive line, which will be a key part of Thursday night’s game plan. While there is a lack of seniors on this year’s squad, South Carolina feels confident in the depth and experience of their underclassmen on both sides of the ball. There will be many new palyers' faces for Carolina fans to get to know over the next several weeks, but all are able and ready to make a name for themselves and this top tier defense.

On the offensive side of the ball there will be familiar faces leading the huddle, but several other key pieces have been replaced. Mike Davis is ready to take over Marcus Lattimore’s duties, backed by Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson. Cody Waldrop will take over for long time center TJ Johnson to anchor the always suspect offensive line for the Gamecocks. Shaq Roland, Damiere Byrd, Nick Jones, and Bruce Ellington will lead the receiving core that has the potential for greatness if they can protect the football along with the rest of the offense.

While North Carolina’s offense can be quick and powerful, they will not be able to sustain drives against the Gamecocks’ defensive front. The best opportunities will be in potential short field chances resulting from South Carolina turnovers. Assuming South Carolina can protect the ball and limit the turnovers, they will be able to score enough points to win the game. First game jitters will probably make this a sloppy win per the usual for the Gamecocks, but in the end they will find a way to win their season opener at home on national television.

Final Score: Gamecocks 24, Tarheels 10

Post written by Gamecock Girl Sports Bloggess, Lauren Rippy.

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