It's gameday! Are you ready for Gamecock football?
South Carolina plays N.C. State on Saturday to open the 2017 season. Here’s what you need to know about the game.
▪ Who: South Carolina (0-0) vs. N.C. State (0-0)
▪ When: 3:05 p.m. Saturday
▪ Where: Bank of America Stadium (75,525), Charlotte, N.C.
▪ Series history: USC leads 27-26-4. South Carolina won the past two games in 2008 and 2009.
▪ TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, play-by-play; Greg McElroy, analysis; Tom Luginbill, sideline)
▪ Radio: 107.5 FM (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline)
▪ Satellite radio: Sirius 132/XM 192
▪ Line: N.C. State by 5
▪ Weather: A 20 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. South southwest wind 6 to 10 mph.
What’s at stake
The Gamecocks are trying to get off to a winning start against one of the darlings of the offseason. N.C. State has received some national-level hype and boasts one of the top defensive lines in the country.
South Carolina is opening its second season with Will Muschamp boasting a lot of offensive talent, but looking to find something from a set of newcomers in key roles on defense.
A win would give the Gamecocks their third opening-day win in a row. It would be the team’s first non-conference win against a Power Five team since September of 2015, when USC topped a North Carolina team that played for an ACC title.
The teams, by the numbers (2016 totals)
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
South Carolina players to watch
1. Sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley enters his first season as an opening-day starter. He threw for 1,420 yards, nine scores and four interceptions in seven starts in 2016 after having his redshirt torn off midseason.
2. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel could have some big opportunities against the Wolfpack. He posted 59 catches for 783 yards in just more than nine healthy games last season and goes against a secondary without five of its top six players from last season.
3. Senior linebacker Skai Moore will play for the first time since September 2015. He led the Gamecocks in tackles three years in a row and interceptions twice before missing 2016 with a neck injury.
N.C. State players to watch
1. Senior tight end Jaylen Samuels led the Wolfpack with 55 receptions and seven touchdowns through the air, rushed for six scores and led the team in yards per carry. That might understate his impact. He’s a guy who can line up anywhere and a player the Gamecocks will have to track.
2. Junior quarterback Ryan Finley was the epitome of solid in 2016. He threw for 3,055 yards, 18 touchdowns, eight interceptions, completed about 60 percent of his passes and avoided sacks. Some have him projected for a big jump.
3. Picking a top N.C. State defensive lineman is like picking the best ice cream flavor, but senior defensive end Bradley Chubb isn’t a bad choice. He tied for 15th nationally in sacks (10) and fourth in tackles for loss (22 1/2) to lead a nasty group.
South Carolina depth chart
QB – Jake Bentley (Michael Scarnecchia)
RB – Rico Dowdle OR Ty’Son Williams OR A.J. Turner
WR – Deebo Samuel (Terry Googer)
WR – Bryan Edwards (OrTre Smith)
WR – Shi Smith
TE – Hayden Hurst (Kiel Pollard)
TE – Jacob August (K.C. Crosby)
LT – Malik Young (Dennis Daley)
LG – Donell Stanley (Sadarius Hutcherson)
C – Alan Knott (Chandler Farrell)
RG – Cory Helms (Blake Camper)
RT – Zack Bailey (D.J. Park)
DE – Dante Sawyer OR Keir Thomas
DT – Taylor Stallworth (Kobe Smith)
DT – Ulric Jones (Javon Kinlaw)
DE – D.J. Wonnum (Daniel Fennell)
LB – Bryson Allen-Williams (Antoine Wilder)
LB – T.J. Brunson (Sherrod Greene)
LB – Skai Moore (Eldridge Thompson)
CB – Jamarcus King (Chris Lammons)
S – D.J. Smith (Javon Charleston)
S – Chris Lammons (Keisean Nixon)
CB – Rashad Fenton (Jamyest Williams)
NICK – Jamyest Williams (Chris Lammons)
PK – Alexander Woznick OR Parker White
KO – Parker White
P – Joseph Charlton (Michael Almond)
LS – Ben Asbury (Matthew Smith)
KR – Deebo Samuel (Rashad Fenton)
PR – Chris Lammons (Rashad Fenton)
H – Danny Gordon (Michael Almond)