David Cloninger

USC-UNC: Five gameday storylines for the Gamecocks

VIDEO: Will the real Carolina please stand up?

The debate is real and the barbs are swift. We try to get to the bottom of who the real Carolina is as the Gamecocks prepare to face off against the Tar Heels. (Ali Rizvi - McClatchy)
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The debate is real and the barbs are swift. We try to get to the bottom of who the real Carolina is as the Gamecocks prepare to face off against the Tar Heels. (Ali Rizvi - McClatchy)

1. CONNOR II

It’s Connor Mitch’s show – for now. It stands to reason that Steve Spurrier will give Mitch all the room and weapons he needs to grow into the role, but Mitch will need to do something to keep the job tonight. It could be one pass, it could be getting back up after a sack, it could be simply not losing the game. While Mitch may be doomed with his first name in comparison’s sake, that other Connor didn’t exactly play well in his game at Bank of America Stadium.

2. TWO-HEADED

Brandon Wilds and David Williams will get the ball. They have to produce. It takes the heat off Mitch, it keeps UNC’s offense off the field … it can’t be overstated how vital the two backs are to USC’s chances.

3. PUT ’EM UP

The Gamecocks’ defense would probably prefer a softer opponent, but they don’t get to choose that. So what better way to show how improved they are than by shutting down an up-tempo, high-scoring offense? If USC can disrupt the Tar Heels’ timing and rattle Marquise Williams early, momentum swings garnet.

4. OVER HERE!

The Gamecocks’ receiver depth chart is wide-open behind Pharoh Cooper, and was made even more that way when they lost two receivers for the season this week. The first guy not wearing 11 to catch a ball may earn a shoulder ride out of the stadium.

5. PHAROH HEISMAN

Of course the Tar Heels know of him, but Cooper has to show why he’s so highly regarded. He’ll draw extra attention, but that won’t stop the Gamecocks from targeting him – Cooper has to pick up where he left off and give his teammates a boost. There wouldn’t be a better way, if USC receives to open the game, than by taking the kickoff to the house. It hasn’t been done in so long, what better time than in a season with so many questions?

Gamecocks vs. Tar Heels

When: 6:01 p.m. Thursday

TV: ESPN

Radio: WNKT-FM 107.5

Satellite radio: Sirius 84/XM 84

Line: USC by 3

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