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|09-02-2010, 09:20 AM||#1|
Unofficial WDW Expert
Join Date: Dec 2006
Preview of the Game
SETTING THE STAGE
• South Carolina opens its 117th season of intercollegiate football, dating back to 1892, and the 2010 season on Thursday, Sept. 2, against the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. The contest will be broadcast live to a national television audience on ESPN and streamed online at ESPN3.com. It is the third straight season and the fifth time in six years for South Carolina to open on a Thursday night; the Gamecocks are undefeated (4-0) in those contests.
• This is the 104th consecutive year in which the University of South Carolina has fielded a football team; the school did not compete in 1893 or 1906. Carolina owns an all-time record of 534-536-44.
• Tonight marks the first football meeting between South Carolina and Southern Miss.
South Carolina: Steve Spurrier (Florida `67)
Southern Miss: Larry Fedora (Austin College `85)
• South Carolina is 76-36-4 (.672) all-time in season-openers. The Gamecocks have won 10 consecutive season-opening games and 13 out of the last 14.
• Coach Steve Spurrier is 19-1 all-time in season openers as a collegiate head coach. His only season-opening loss, ironically, was a 27-21 loss to the Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia on Sept. 2, 1989 - 21 years ago today - while the head coach at Duke.
• The Gamecocks are 6-2 in Thursday night games over the last five seasons, including 4-0 in season-openers. Carolina went 2-0 in mid-week contests last season, defeating NC State 7-3 in the season opener and taking down No. 4 Ole Miss 16-10 on Sept. 24.
• South Carolina has won six straight non-conference home games, dating back to the 2008 season opener.
• For the second straight year, the Gamecocks were picked to finish third in the SEC Eastern Division. This comes after a seven-year stretch in which South Carolina was tabbed for a fourth-place finish.
• South Carolina returns starters to 17 positions from the 2010 squad that finished 7-6 overall, 3-5 in SEC play. That includes eight on offense, seven on defense and two on special teams.
• Of the 22 starters in last year's opener against NC State, 17 are still on the roster (9 offense, 8 defense).
A South Carolina win over Southern Miss would...
Southern Miss is in its third year under head coach Larry Fedora. The Golden Eagles are 14-12 under Fedora, who is in his first head coaching job. The Golden Eagles went 7-6 last season and played in the New Orleans Bowl, falling to Middle Tennessee 42-32. This is the first meeting between South Carolina and Southern Miss.
TIES WITH SOUTHERN MISS
•Assistant Head Coach Ellis Johnson was an assistant coach at Southern Miss in 1988-89.
•Southern Miss junior LB Tim Green is a native of Columbia and a graduate of Spring Valley High School.
THE GAMECOCKS AND NO. 4
Brett Favre, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history, played his college ball at Southern Miss. But in his NFL career, he has taken a liking to a number of former Gamecock receivers. Of Favre's 497 career touchdown passes, 80 of them (16%) have been to South Carolina alumni. Of his first 51 TD passes as a pro, 36 went to Carolina receivers.
Former GamecocksTDs from Favre Sterling Sharpe 41 Robert Brooks 32 Sidney Rice7
SPURRIER VS. SOUTHERN MISS
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier owns a perfect 3-0 mark all-time against Southern Miss with all three contests coming in Gainesville, Fla., while he was head coach at Florida from 1990-2001.
South Carolina owns an 18-13-0 all-time record against current members of Conference USA. Of those 31 contests, 15 have come against East Carolina (10-5), four against Memphis (2-2) and three each against UCF (3-0), Houston (1-2) and Tulane (0-3).
PERFECT AGAINST NON-AQ SCHOOLS
Head Coach Steve Spurrier is a perfect 38-0 all-time against schools outside of BCS automatic qualifier conferences, including a 12-0 mark since coming to South Carolina. He defeated Florida Atlantic and South Carolina State in 2009, and will have a chance to extend his mark with 2010 games against Southern Miss, Furman and Troy.
KICKING THINGS OFF...
The Gamecocks are 76-36-4 in season openers, a .672 winning percentage. The Gamecocks have wins in each of their last 10 and in 13 of their last 14 season lidlifters. The only loss in that stretch was a 10-0 setback at NC State in the 1999 season opener.
South Carolina opens its 76th season of football at Williams-Brice Stadium when Southern Miss comes to town on Thursday. In 116 previous years of intercollegiate football, the Gamecocks are 79-29-7 (.724) all-time in their initial home contest of the season (no home games in 1892). Since joining the SEC, Carolina is 13-5 in home openers.
THE HEAD BALL COACH IN OPENERS
Head Coach Steve Spurrier is 19-1 in season-opening games in his 20 seasons as a collegiate head coach. The only loss in that stretch was, ironically, a 27-21 loss to the Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia on Sept. 2, 1989 - 21 years ago today - when he was the head ball coach in his final season at Duke. That Blue Devil squad went on to win the ACC title that season. The USC victory was led by the great Todd Ellis, who is now the play-by-play voice of Gamecock Football. Since that time, Coach Spurrier has won 17 straight season opening games with his squad scoring 40 or more points in 10 of those 17 games.
THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIALS
This marks the sixth-straight season in which the Gamecocks will play at least one Thursday night contest. They are 6-2 over the past five years in Thursday night specials; 4-0 when those contests are the opening game of the season.
The Gamecocks were 4-1 in non-conference action in 2009. They defeated NC State, Florida Atlantic, South Carolina State and Clemson in the regular season before falling to UConn in the bowl game. They are 17-6 in non-conference games under Steve Spurrier, including wins in 15 of their last 19 non-league tilts. The year-by-year breakdown: 2005 (2-2); 2006 (5-0); 2007 (3-1); 2008 (3-2); 2009 (4-1).
|09-02-2010, 09:21 AM||#2|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Baltimore, MD
Re: Preview of the Game
Here is another one from Scott Hood
USC-SOUTHERN MISS PREVIEW
What: Southern Miss (0-0) at South Carolina (0-0);
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250), Columbia, S.C.;
When: Thu., Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m.;
TV/Radio: ESPN (Rece Davis, Craig James, Jesse Palmer); Gamecock Radio Network, 107.5 FM In Columbia (Todd Ellis, Tommy Suggs, Terry Cousin); Replay on SportSouth Sun. 9/5 at 8 p.m. (Andy Demetra and Brad Muller).
South Carolina opens Year 6 of the Steve Spurrier Era Thursday night when they take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Williams-Brice Stadium. After a disappointing finish to 2009, the Gamecocks are hungry to begin the current campaign on a positive note. But the season begins under a gray cloud with a NCAA investigation into the former housing arrangements of several USC players at the Whitney Hotel. Right now, we know one player connected to the Whitney, tight end Weslye Saunders, won't play in Thursday night's game. But we still haven't received an answer on a half dozen or more other players, most of whom are projected starters.
USC OFFENSE v. SOUTHERN MISS DEFENSE:
We finally got our answer late Wednesday morning to the question of whom would start at quarterback for USC. Steve Spurrier had been dropping hints for a few days that Stephen Garcia would take the opening snap for the Gamecocks with untested true freshman Connor Shaw making his college debut at some point in the first half.
Spurrier finally made it official during his weekly appearance on the SEC teleconference.
Even though Spurrier used Garcia as a personal punching bag for most of the spring and summer, the redshirt junior actually enjoyed a good season in 2009 with 2,862 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. But he was also sacked 37 times and, in the eyes of Spurrier, not all of those lost yardage plays were the fault of the offensive line. Too often, Garcia held onto the ball too long before being dropped or, in other situations, scurried out of the pocket too quickly before giving the play a chance to develop.
Will Thursday night begin a breakthrough season for Garcia or will the contest mark the beginning of the transition to Shaw? We might have an answer around 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.
Like the quarterback position, running back also features a true freshman Gamecock fans are eager to watch against a real opponent. Spurrier says highly-touted Marcus Lattimore, the No. 1 running back prospect in the country during the 2010 recruiting cycle, will make his USC debut early in Thursday's game, possibly in relief of starter Brian Maddox, a senior with 442 career rushing yards.
Could USC give Southern Miss an all-freshman look with Shaw at quarterback and Lattimore at running back? It could happen.
Kenny Miles, last season's leading rusher with 626 yards, should also get plenty of carries. Miles was able to jump from fourth to first on the depth chart last season because of his tough, physical running style that bowled over defenders.
Add Jarvis Giles into the mix and the running back position features unprecedented depth. However, as running backs coach Jay Graham has claimed, only two, maybe three, ball carriers will be featured on a weekly basis.
Paul CollinsWR Alshon Jeffery looks to sustain the momentum from the 2009 season on Thursday night against a suspect USM secondary.
Led by super sophomores Alshon Jeffery, Tori Gurley and D.L. Moore, the USC wide receiver corps is tall, talented and ready to make a national impact. The departure of Moe Brown was the only significant loss for a unit that lists seven freshman or sophomores among the eight players on the depth chart.
Another impressive freshman, 5-foot-8 Ace Sanders, is being eyed for a pivotal role at the slot receiver position.
Spurrier has been impressed with the performance of new offensive line coach Shawn Elliott in his first eight months on the job. The O-line has shown better toughness, physicality and discipline with Elliott relying on a tough love approach. However, two linemen (Jarriel King and Terrence Campbell) are involved in the Whitney Hotel situation and could be suspended for the opener.
The Southern Miss defense was flat out awful in 2009, finishing 80th in the country in total defense (392.5 ypg). The pass coverage was especially porous with a 109th ranking nationally. But USM head coach Larry Fedora is optimistic the Golden Eagles will show improvement in 2010.
Without question, the strength of the Southern Miss defense is at linebacker where standouts Korey Williams (121 tackles in 2009), Ronnie Thornton (114 stops) and Martez Smith (82 tackles) roam sideline to sideline. The trio combined for 29 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 2009.
USM has feasted on turnovers in Fedora's first two years as head coach. When the Golden Eagles force two or more turnovers, they are 13-5 under Fedora. USM tied for 25th nationally in turnovers gained with 27 in 2009.
In short, if the USC offense doesn't turn the ball over, they should have their way with the Southern Miss defense.
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: QB Stephen Garcia, RB Marcus Lattimore, RB Kenny Miles, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Tori Gurley, WR D.L. Moore, FB/TE Patrick DiMarco, C T.J. Johnson.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: DT John Henderson, MLB Korey Williams, SLB Martez Smith, FS Kendrick Presley.
COACH'S COMMENT: "Southern Miss has got a lot of football tradition out there. Their team has been good over the years. I think they've been to something like eight straight bowl games, and I don't think they've had a losing record in 15, 18 years. Southern Miss is a team with tremendous football tradition. They really have won a lot of games." - USC head coach Steve Spurrier.
SOUTHERN MISS OFFENSE v. USC DEFENSE:
Two words describe the Southern Miss offense under Larry Fedora - fast paced. The Golden Eagles will try to keep the USC defense off-balance and out of rhythm with a no-huddle, high-tempo attack that tries to exhaust an opposing defenses over four quarters.
Like USC, Southern Miss also has two quarterbacks ready to play, but Fedora didn't hesitate in naming 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior Austin Davis as the starter prior to the start of pre-season camp. Davis missed the final eight games last season with a ligament tear in his left foot after enjoying a solid start with a 69.2 percent completion percentage (108-of-156) and 10 TD passes in the first five games.
Davis, who has thrown at least one TD pass in 17 of his first 18 career games, including the last 12 in a row, is backed up by Martevious Young, a fifth year senior with eight career starts. In the final eight games last season, Young completed 57.6 percent (129-of-224) of his passes for 1,845 yards and 16 TD passes.
The graduation of all-time leading rusher Damion Fletcher (1,015 yards in 2009; 5,302 career yards), as well as the departure of last season's second leading rusher, Tory Harrison (647 yards) means Southern Miss lost 70.5 percent of their rushing production from a year ago.
After Fletcher dominated the position for a couple of years, USM will likely rely on a running back by committee approach led by little used senior V.J. Floyd (59 yards in 2009; 398 career yards). He will be joined in the backfield by Tracy Lampley (122 yards in 2009), Desmond Johnson (72 yards) and redshirt freshman Kendrick Hardy. With so much inexperience in the backfield and offensive line, Southern Miss could find running the football very difficult against USC's aggressive front seven.
The biggest name on the Southern Miss offense is 6-foot-6 junior WR DeAndre Brown, a potential high round NFL Draft pick next April. Brown was sensational as a freshman in 2008 with a single season school record 67 receptions and earned Freshman All-America honors. But he suffered a severe leg injury in the 2008 New Orleans Bowl and wasn't 100 percent healthy for most of last season. He still finished with 47 catches. Without a doubt, he is the main weapon for the USM offense and keeping him bottled up will be a major challenge for the USC secondary.
The Southern Miss offensive line features four new starters and could be a liability against possibly the best defense the Golden Eagles will face all season.
The USC defense could face the loss of multiple starters if the NCAA makes a ruling on the Whitney Hotel case prior to kickoff. Free safety Akeem Auguste, cornerback C.C. Whitlock, DT Ladi Ajiboye and DT Travian Robertson are all at risk to miss the game. If they do, Head Defensive Coach Ellis Johnson will have to move some pieces around to fill the gaps.
Paul CollinsDE Cliff Matthews is the leader of a formidable USC defense that will be challenged by the high-tempo USM offense.If Auguste and Whitlock are forced to sit out, Chris Culliver will start at cornerback and D.J. Swearinger, currently the backup to DeVonte Holloman at strong safety, will return to his former position of free safety, leaving USC with little experienced depth in the secondary.
Besides the Whitney fallout, the biggest story for the USC defense is the absence of outside linebacker Shaq Wilson, who suffered a hamstring injury on the first day of fall practice and worked out just once after that. Tony Straughter and Quin Smith have competed through camp to replace him. Both will play.
Rodney Paulk and Josh Dickerson should also share snaps at middle linebacker.
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: QB Austin Davis, RB V.J. Floyd, RB Tracy Lampley, WR DeAndre Brown, WR Quentin Pierce, C Cameron Zipp.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: DE Cliff Matthews, DE Devin Taylor, DT Ladi Ajiboye, MLB Rodney Paulk, MLB Josh Dickerson, CB Stephon Gilmore, SS Akeem Auguste, CB Chris Culliver, SS DeVonte Holloman,
COACH'S COMMENT: "It is a great atmosphere and they have a tremendous fan base. It will be packed and it will be loud. It will be a lot fun under the lights." - Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora.
Quarterback - Slight Edge to USC
Running Back - Edge to USC
Wide Receiver - Slight Edge to USC
Offensive Line - Slight Edge to USC
Tight End - Slight Edge to USC
Defensive Line - Edge to USC
Linebacker - Slight Edge to Southern Miss
Secondary - Edge to USC
Special teams - Edge to USC.
SYNOPSIS: Out of all the numbers and statistics that have been thrown around in connection with this matchup, here's the most important one: USC head coach Steve Spurrier is 38-0 against schools from non-BCS conferences in his coaching career, 12-0 since joining USC. He simply doesn't lose games like this, especially when his team is a two-touchdown favorite. Typically, USC had avoided being upset by inferior teams during his tenure until the bowl loss to UConn. Frankly, a SEC school should not lose to a C-USA team, especially at home. Thursday night games at Williams-Brice Stadium have been a house of horrors for Gamecock opponents in recent years. USC is 4-0 in Thursday night season openers under Spurrier, 2-0 at home. Southern Miss is a decent team and should compete for the C-USA title after they leave Columbia, but they simply lack sufficient weapons on both sides of the ball to pull out the win. Unless, of course, USC commits a bunch of turnovers and the offense becomes stagnant. The guess here is that won't happen.
PREDICTION: USC enters this game with numerous questions on offense. Is QB Stephen Garcia capable of leading this team to victory lane on a consistent basis? Will the offensive line finally play with intensity and fire? Is RB Marcus Lattimore the real deal? Answers to those key questions will start to be unearthed Thursday night. Southern Miss has enough talent to stick with the Gamecocks for a half or more, but USC's apparent advantage on both lines of scrimmage should allow the Gamecocks to pull away starting in the middle of the third quarter. Southern Miss will come to Columbia hoping to make a splash nationally. Third-year head coach Larry Fedora is seeking a breakthrough win with the Golden Eagles. They're confident they have the talent to pull it off. With players like Austin Davis, DeAndre Brown and Korey Williams on the roster, they will be a threat, at least for a while. Despite their national reputation as giant killers, USM has lost eight straight games to SEC opponents. Don't look for that winless streak to come to a halt on Thursday night.
The Pick: USC 27, SOUTHERN MISS 10.
|09-02-2010, 09:28 AM||#3|
I am Chuck Norris
Join Date: Jul 2009
Re: Preview of the Game
i like the 27-10 prediction. But i'll go 35-10
"We're not as good as we want to be, we're not as good as we should be, but thank God we're not as bad as we used to be..."
|09-02-2010, 09:32 AM||#4|
...where the Pampers is.
Join Date: Oct 2008
Re: Preview of the Game
Here's my breakdown of tonight:
What's in the cooler: Bud Light, Svedka, Water, Ice and Limes
What's on the Grill: Hamburgers (Sriracha and Honey)
Gameplan breakdown, percentage of my time:
Talking to Gamecock fans (25%)
Talking at USM fans (5%)
Staring at the "sights" (20%)
My designated Driver, The guys in front of me in line to pee
The Gamecocks blow out Southern Miss, and I pass out by midnight so I can go to work.