Game preview: NC State offers stiff test in USC opener
The last time South Carolina played in Bank of America Stadium, they left with a 17-13 victory.
Chances are this time more than 30 total points will be scored, and the Gamecocks won’t leave winners. At least that’s what the sports books say. N.C. State is a 5-point favorite in what will be the 58th time these two former ACC rivals have played. The series dates back to 1900 and is remarkably even with South Carolina leading 27-26-4. The last eight meetings have resulted in four wins for each team.
The Gamecocks bring an offense that has higher expectations than 17 points and a defense that will be hard pressed to hold any Power 5 opponent to 13 or fewer, so fans can expect some points to be scored Saturday. Here are three matchups that will determine which team ends up with more of them:
South Carolina left tackle Malik Young vs. N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb: This is the scariest matchup for the Gamecocks. Young is making his first start at left tackle and wasn’t as consistent as USC head coach Will Muschamp wanted in the preseason. Chubb is one of the nation’s best.
South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore vs. N.C. State H-back Jaylen Samuels: The return of the speedy Moore will help the Gamecocks cover Samuels, who is one of the most versatile offensive players in the country, lining up at running back, tight end and receiver.
South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards vs. N.C. State cornerback Jonathan Alston: Edwards will get plenty of chances to make big plays thanks to the attention on Deebo Samuel. Alston is a converted wide receiver forced into the starting lineup by an injury to Mike Stevens.
Expect this game to be as tight as the overall series.
Prediction: N.C. State 30, South Carolina 28