Today I'm going to continue the breakdown series for next year by talking about the Gamecocks next opponent which is East Carolina. Last years season opener at East Carolina was anything but a cake walk and even a little bit scary at times. Thank goodness for Stephen (the kegstand) Garcia in that one.
2011 Record- 5-7
Bowl Game- None
Key Players Lost- Dominique Davis
Last Years Meeting- South Carolina 56 East Carolina 37
1. Jadeveon Clowney vs. ECU Running Backs...ECU loses their main star from last years 5-7 team in quarterback Dominique Davis. This is a huge loss for them and the Pirates will have to rely heavy on their run game to contend with the Cocks. There's not a ton of talent on this ECU team so Clowney and the rest of the d-line should be able to pin their ears back and have a field day against this offense. Look for Clowney to show his maturity in this game and really show what he can do.
2. The Running Back Stable vs. ECU Defense...Lets face it. Last years offense of South Carolina was far from spectacular in the early stages and we still ended up with 56 against the ECU defense and that was with Stephen Garcia under center(he actually played very well in that game). The Pirates defense won't be much better this year and from the opening play they are going to see a lot of rushing by the Cocks. Latti and company should have a big day in this one.
3. Williams Brice Stadium vs. ECU as a team...New quarterback plus not a whole lot of playmakers for the Pirates won't make a good recipe. Add that to the fact that this is the home opener for the Cocks in one of the most hyped and anticipated seasons of all time in Columbia. The croud noise should be a huge factor in this game as well and ECU doesn't play in front of anything like they will see in the Cockpit all year long.
Conclusion: ECU had us down 17-0 at one point last year. They had a good quarterback and a good gameplan centered around him to make plays. It worked for about a half and then we got our act together and won at a neutral site convincingly which is exactly what I think we will do this year. Davis is no longer with the Pirates and Latti will be back and probably better than ever. The Cocks are much more talented in this one at about every position. I look for the Pirates to come out with a decent gameplan in this one but in the end I don't think it matters.
Prediction: Gamecocks 48 ECU 17