South Carolina plays UMass on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know about the game.
▪ Who: South Carolina (2-4, 1-4 SEC) vs. UMass (1-6)
▪ When: Noon Saturday
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▪ Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250), Columbia
▪ Series history: This is the first meeting between the Gamecocks and Minutemen
▪ TV: SEC Network (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Andre Ware, analysis; Cole Cubelic, sideline)
▪ Radio: 107.5 FM (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline)
▪ Satellite radio: Sirius 83/XM 190
▪ Line: USC by 20
▪ Weather: Sunny, with a high near 67
The fair is in town
The sentiment to “arrive early” takes on a new meaning this week with a noon football game and the South Carolina State Fair in town. More-than-usual traffic congestion is expected Saturday, especially closer to game time, and Gamecock Club reserved parking in the State Fairgrounds will not be honored. The Fairgrounds parking lot will open at 9 a.m. for both fair and football parking, and spots will be sold ($5 for cars and $10 for vans and oversized vehicles) on a first-come, first-served basis. More details here.
This is the first football meeting between the Gamecocks and the Minutemen. South Carolina is paying UMass a $1.5 million guarantee for the game on Saturday, almost twice as much as it will pay any other non-conference opponent. The last time the Gamecocks faced a team from the New England states was a 20-7 loss to UConn in the 2010 Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala..
They did what?
UMass is 1-6 this season (a win over Florida International) and lost by 20 points to Old Dominion. The Minutemen, however, trailed Florida by only three points entering the fourth quarter earlier this year, and they were within a score of Mississippi State in the second half before losing 45-37.
Back at Williams-Brice
Former Gamecock football strength and conditioning coach Joe Connolly serves as the UMass director of sports performance/head football strength and conditioning coach. Connolly worked on Steve Spurrier’s staff in Columbia for seven seasons.
The Bay State
The Gamecocks feature one player, walk-on long snapper Logan Crane, who hails from Massachusetts. Crane, a redshirt freshman, graduated from Dartmouth High in 2015.
The teams, by the numbers
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
South Carolina players to watch
1. The quarterbacks: Freshman Jake Bentley is believed to be poised for his first career start for the Gamecocks, but what about the other quarterbacks? Perry Orth or Brandon McIlwain could still factor in depending on USC’s plan for the position and the flow of the game.
2. Running back Rico Dowdle: The freshman started for the first time when USC faced Georgia, gaining 30 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. South Carolina lost two fumbles against the Bulldogs, one by Dowdle, so ball security will under the microscope against UMass.
3. Linebacker Larenz Bryant: The USC senior is back from a hamstring injury and on track to start at strongside linebacker. The Gamecocks are expected to be without senior linebacker Jon Walton, who had a knee scope during the open week.
UMass players to watch
1. Wide receiver Andy Isabella: The Minutemen have bounced between a pair of passers, Ross Comis and Andrew Ford, but Isabella has been a bell cow in the passing game. He’s got 427 yards on 33 catches and came into Saturday’s loss to Louisiana Tech being targeted on nearly one-fourth of UMass passes.
2. Running back Marquis Young: No one else on the team is within 100 non-sack carries of the sophomore back. His 563 yards accounts for 60 percent of his team’s output on the ground, and he’s been solidly explosive.
3. Outside linebacker Da’Sean Downey: The Minutemen are not shy about sending pressure, and Downey leads the team in that department. He has four sacks, 6 1/2 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.
Projected South Carolina depth chart
Our projection for the South Carolina football depth chart.
WR – SAMUEL (Googer)
WR – J. SMITH (Banks)
WR – EDWARDS (Dawkins)
LT – ZANDI (Park)
LG – BAILEY (Farrell or Knott)
C – KNOTT (Knott)
RG – HELMS (Farrell or Bailey)
RT – YOUNG (Park)
TE – HURST (Crosby)
QB – BENTLEY (Orth or McIlwain)
RB – DOWDLE (Turner)
DE – LEWIS (Sawyer)
DT – STALLWORTH (Thomas)
DT – THOMAS (Jones)
DE – ENGLISH (Wonnum)
SLB – BRYANT (Allen-Williams)
MLB – HOLLOMAN (Brunson)
WLB – ALLEN-WILLIAMS (Pittman)
CB – LAMMONS (Fenton)
S – D. SMITH (Montac)
S – MOODY (Elder)
CB – KING (Fenton)
NICK – FENTON (Diggs)
PK – FRY (Charlton)
P – KELLY (Charlton)
LS – DR. WILLIAMS (McGriff)
KR – TURNER (Fenton)
PR – LAMMONS (Turner)
H – KELLY