As of Wednesday August 28, South Carolina is a 12.5 favorite over North Carolina. Coach Spurrier announced that Jadeveon Clowney is healthy and ready to go. Not only do the Gamecocks open the College Football season at 6 p.m. on ESPN, they open with a strong Heisman candidate. Jadeveon Clowney, more often than not has been a terror throughout his college career. However, his offseason popularity has skyrocketed into mainstream America. Many Pundits say, if a defensive player is to win the most coveted award, it will be Jadeveon Clowney.
While, South Carolina boast a top 10 preseason ranking and has the cache of playing in the SEC, North Carolina is no slouch on both sides of the ball. Although the Tarheels lost big play ability from Giovanni Benard, North Carolina has plenty of athletes to test the Gamecocks defense.
Offensively, they should be able to score on the South Carolina defense with outstanding play from Bryn Renner. The main focus of South Carolina’s defense will be to stop the passing game and up tempo Tar Heel offense. Last season North Carolina averaged 291 yards passing per game in the first year under Larry Fedora. If this is any indication of how the Tarheels will perform, expect for a somewhat explosive game.
South Carolina has a two quarterback system and they are both capable of running the offense effectively. Connor Shaw is the official starter, and he is more adept at running while making plays with his legs. North Carolina must contain Shaw in the pocket early and often. Even if they slow down the South Carolina offense, Dylan Thompson can lift up the Gamecocks with huge passing plays.
South Carolina has had to overcome some injuries to the receiver position, but when the time is right, Bruce Ellington is more than capable of making big plays.
If North Carolina is able to match South Carolina’s front seven, then this game should come down to the wire. Both teams will be breaking in new starting running backs. Still, each team is talented in the backfield.
We all expect Jadeveon Clowney to make his statement on the game. As the first game on ESPN, Clowney has a tremendous chance to show new fans what the hype is about.
Usually offenses take a little while to get heated up without preseason games to work out the kinks. It should be especially difficult to go against a team the caliber of South Carolina, while North Carolina’s front four should create immense pressure. By the second half, the defenses will loosen up as the offenses play better. Stay tuned for the Bryn Renner show. However, turnovers will be the difference in this game.
South Carolina 29
North Carolina 24
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