USC Gamecocks Football

Final decision: Michael Scarnecchia to make first start for Gamecocks

Do things change when Michael Scarnecchia is in the game?

USC coach Will Muschamp describes Michael Scarnecchia's contributions to the game
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USC coach Will Muschamp describes Michael Scarnecchia's contributions to the game

For the first times since the middle of the 2016 season, a new player will start for South Carolina football at quarterback.

Michael Scarnecchia, who has been the team’s backup for the past two seasons, will start for the injured Jake Bentley on Saturday against Missouri. The news it was expected broke early Friday, and Jake Bentley was unable to to show enough to be able to go before the game.

Will Muschamp had called him a game-time decision. Bentley was in full uniform through much of warmups, but Scarnecchia was announced as the starter in pregame and on the team’s radio broadcast. He and Dakereon Joyner took full-team reps at the end of warmups.

See the Gamecocks walk into Williams-Brice Stadium ahead of the football game against Missouri October, 6.

Last week, Scarnecchia had 45 yards passing on South Carolina’s final drive against Kentucky, working against a defense that was trying not to give up a quick play. He fumbled twice after sacks.

He threw for 44 yards in garbage time against Coastal Carolina and has been USC’s unquestioned backup the past two seasons.

“Mike’s a senior,” Muschamp said. “He’s had his opportunities. Mike throws the ball extremely well. That’s been evident. He repped a lot with our first team in training camp, obviously for a situation that may arise on Saturday. Mike will be prepared.”

In starting nearly two full seasons across the past three years, Bentley has thrown for 5,142 yards, 34 touchdowns and 22 interceptions, connecting on 63.4 percent of his passes. He is 15-9 as a starter.

South Carolina star wide receiver Deebo Samuel says quarterback Jake Bentley has been recovering from injury as the Gamecocks prepare to face Missouri on Saturday, and also discusses what backup QB Michael Scarnecchia can do if he has to play Mizzou.