South Carolina takes on the UCF Knights on Saturday.
Who: USC (1-2) vs. UCF (0-3)
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium
TV: ESPNU with Clay Matvick and John Congemi
Radio: 107.5 The Game with Todd Ellis, Tommy Suggs and Langston Moore
Satellite Radio: Sirius 83/XM 190
Line: USC by 14
Series History: USC leads 4-0
Last Meeting: USC 28, UCF 25 (2013)
Steve Spurrier vs. UCF: 3-0
George O’Leary vs. South Carolina: 0-2
Weather: Showers likely, mainly in the morning. Cloudy, with a high near 75. Northeast wind 7 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
Uniform report: USC will wear white helmets, garnet jerseys, white pants and white socks.
The Gamecock Walk: USC’s pregame walk through Gamecock Park takes place at approximately 9:30 a.m.
FIVE USC STORYLINES
1. FRESHMAN TO FRESHMAN
Not the newest NBC sitcom, but the exchange between center Zack Bailey and quarterback Lorenzo Nunez. Each of the true freshmen will be making his first start this week. Each played and played well at Georgia, but the game was pretty much already decided. This time, it’s all even.
2. STEP UP
Both in scheme – corners need to play closer to the line of scrimmage – and overall: USC’s defense has to get better if it has any shot of making this a winning season. The Knights are the worst offensive team in big-boy football, so this is the best chance the Gamecocks are going to get.
3. CALL IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE CARDS
USC fans have been filling the message boards with venom, and it’s understandable. They say that Steve Spurrier needs to go. I have a feeling that they’ll still be packing into Williams-Brice Stadium, even for a noon kick against a non-conference opponent, to pull for The Visored One. They could choose to stay away, but it’s much easier to cheer in public and then anonymously snipe in private.
4. BUBBLE WRAP
After getting through the preseason with no major injuries, USC has been losing players right and left. You can get injured crossing the street, but if there is any kind of extra pad/medicine/rubber suit to wear this week to keep another starter from going down, stamp an Under Armour logo on it and go to work.\
USC will recognize its 25th anniversary in the SEC this week. The Gamecocks would do well not to make the ensuing game like the majority of its SEC games in the last 25 years.
THREE UCF STORYLINES
1. Out of 127 FBS teams, UCF is ranked dead last in total offense. South Carolina’s defense, which is No. 108 in total defense, will get a much-needed easier task against the Knights.
2. After starting quarterback Justin Holman was injured against Stanford, true freshman Bo Schneider started against Furman. Schneider and redshirt freshman Tyler Harris both received significant playing time against the Paladins. As a team, UCF threw for 98 yards with three interceptions against Furman.
3. The Knights had success with the wildcat formation against the Paladins as Nick Patti led the team in rushing with 14 carries for 58 yards and a score.
THREE UCF PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. Freshman running back C.J. Jones provided a spark against Furman, rushing for 51 yards and averaging more than seven yards per carry. South Carolina’s struggles against the run are well documented, and the Gamecocks will have to keep an eye on Jones.
2. Sophomore Chris Johnson is a threat as a receiver and a punt returner. He caught only two passes last week but returned four punts for 45 yards with a long of 24.
3. Junior defensive back Drico Johnson leads the Knights in tackles with 21 after making only 10 all of last year. He has two tackles for loss and has recovered a fumble.
▪ 127: UCF’s FBS rank in total offense, out of 127.
▪ 9: Number of offensive starters the Knights don’t have in trying to improve their total offensive rank, after all-AAC tailback Will Stanback was kicked off the team Tuesday.
▪ 3: Number of starting quarterbacks USC has had in four games after Lorenzo Nunez was tabbed to start this week.
▪ 7.29: Yards per play the Gamecocks are giving up. Opponents averaged 6.2 in a historically bad 2014.
▪ 2: The Gamecocks’ consecutive losses. They have not dropped three straight since 2009.
▪ Lorenzo Nunez will become the first true freshman quarterback to start for head coach Steve Spurrier since Jesse Palmer did so for Florida at Auburn in 1997.
▪ The last true freshman to start at quarterback for USC was Mikal Goodman during the 1999 season. Goodman earned the start against Ole Miss, Kentucky and Tennessee that season.
▪ The last true freshman to start at quarterback and win a game for USC was Steve Taneyhill in 1992.
▪ The last time USC had three different quarterbacks start games during the season was in 2008 when Tommy Beecher, Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia all made starts.
USC DEPTH CHART OFFENSE
WR – NEAL ( Jeffery)
WR – P. COOPER (Belton, J. Smith)
WR – GOOGER (Heard, Christian)
LT – SHELL (Pellage)
LG – MATULIS (Bailey)
C – BAILEY (Stadnik)
RG – SPORT (Stanley)
RT – ZANDI (Camper)
TE – ADAMS (Hurst or August, Markway)
QB – NUNEZ (ORTH, Scarnecchia)
FB – BEDENBAUGH (Gist)
TB – CARSON (Da. Williams, Talley)
DE – D. JOHNSON (C. Cooper, Dixon)
DT – STALLWORTH (Sawyer, Griffin)
NT – DIXON JR. (Dukes, Lamin)
DE – LEWIS (English, Whitlow)
MLB – HOLLOMAN (Allen-Williams)
WLB – MOORE (Walton)
SLB – BRYANT (Hawkins)
SPUR – GURLEY (Sasser, Boyd)
LCB – McWILLIAMS (Elder, Fenton)
FS – I. JOHNSON (Moody)
SS – DIGGS (D. Smith)
RCB – HARRIS (Elder, Fenton)
KO – ARD (Fry)
PK – FRY (Ard)
P – KELLY (Almond)
KR – CARSON (Talley)
PR – P. COOPER
LSN – DR. WILLIAMS (McGriff)
H – KELLY (Ard)