South Carolina plays Western Carolina on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know about the game.
▪ Who: South Carolina (5-5) vs. Western Carolina (2-8)
▪ When: 4 p.m. Saturday
▪ Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia
▪ Series history: This is the fifth all-time meeting. The previous four meetings all came in Columbia from 1986-89. After a 45-24 win in 1986, USC in the last three games outscored Western Carolina 93-9.
▪ TV: SEC Network Alternate/Time Warner 385 (Anish Shrof, play-by-play; Ahmad Brooks, analysis)
▪ Radio: 107.5 FM (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline)
▪ Satellite radio: Sirius 145/XM 191
▪ Weather: Mostly sunny, around 70 at kickoff, breezy, with temperatures in the mid- to low 50s by the end of the game.
With five wins, the Gamecocks are still in need of one victory to become bowl eligible. The best chance for win No. 6 comes Saturday against Western Carolina. The Gamecocks will wrap up their 2016 regular season next week in the annual Palmetto Bowl at the No. 4 Clemson Tigers.
This is the final game of the 2016 season for Western Carolina. The Catamounts have earned wins against Gardner Webb and VMI in head coach Mark Speir’s fifth campaign in Cullowhee. They lost 49-21 at Furman last Saturday.
Since the regular season was expanded to 12 games in 2006, Carolina has hosted an FCS opponent every year. The Gamecocks are 9-1 in those games, defeating Wofford (2006, 2008, 2012), South Carolina State (2007, 2009), Furman (2010, 2014), The Citadel (2011) and Coastal Carolina (2013), before suffering a 23-22 loss to The Citadel last season.
The teams, by the numbers
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
South Carolina players to watch
1. Quarterback Jake Bentley will look to bounce back after his first loss and first interception as a Gamecocks starter, going 18-for-33 in the air for 213 passing yards and the one pick. He is 3-1 as a starter.
2. Defensive lineman Darius English leads the team (by far) with eight sacks. He has at least a half a sack in eight of 10 games this year and had a career-high 10 tackles against Florida.
3. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel caught four passes for 53 yards against Florida and has 33 receptions for 457 yards in the last five contests. He was pressed into duty at kick return and could resume that role if A.J. Turner (knee) can’t play.
Western Carolina players to watch
1. Quarterback Tyrie Adams is a high-usage trigger man at the heart of the Catamount attack. He’s thrown for 2,437 yards, 15 scores and nine interceptions on 32-plus attempts a game, while carrying the ball 110 times for 265 yards (451 discounting sacks).
2. Running back Detrez Newsome is a workhorse back who provides a lot each time he gets the ball. His 135 carries are 100 more than any other runner beside Adams and have produced 916 yards (6.8 per carry) and nine scores. He’s also the team’s No. 3 reviver with 30 catches and 332 yards.
3. Wide receiver Terryon Robinson isn’t a big guy (5-foot-11, 190 pounds), but he carries the load with 70 catches, 25 more than anyone else, and 729 yards. He’s complemented by 6-foot-4 Spearman Robinson, a Greenwood, S.C., product.
Projected South Carolina depth chart
Our projection for the South Carolina football depth chart.
WR – SAMUEL (Googer)
WR – EDWARDS (Banks)
LT – ZANDI (Park)
LG – BAILEY (Stanley or Park)
C – KNOTT (Helms)
RG – HELMS (Stanley)
RT – YOUNG (Camper)
TE – HURST (August)
TE – CROSBY (Pollard)
QB – BENTLEY (McIlwain)
RB – DOWDLE (Williams)
DE – LEWIS (Sawyer)
DT – STALLWORTH (Griffin)
DT – JONES (Thomas)
DE – ENGLISH (Wonnum)
LB – WALTON (Bryant)
LB – HOLLOMAN (Brunson)
LB – ALLEN-WILLIAMS (Pittman)
CB – LAMMONS (Lammons)
S – SMITH (Elder)
S – MONTAC (Moody)
CB – KING (Fenton or Montac)
NICK – FENTON (Montac or Wilder or Diggs)
PK – FRY (Charlton)
P – KELLY (Charlton)
LS – DR. WILLIAMS (McGriff)
KR – SAMUEL (Fenton)
PR – LAMMONS (Samuel)
H – KELLY