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Early look: South Carolina hosts ‘that team from the Upstate’

The Gamecocks host the Wofford Terriers in the second-to-last game of the season.

Wofford v Mississippi'n

“As you all know, we had a big win over that team from the Upstate recently,” Steve Spurrier, still head coach at the time, said to a crowded Colonial Life Arena during halftime of a Clemson-USC basketball game in December, 2012.

Spurrier was speaking during a brief ceremony to honor the football team, which had just won 10 games for the third time in as many years and gone undefeated at home for the first time in 25.

“It was a very close game,” he continued. “We went into the fourth quarter, our defense played very well, our kicker made his kicks, and we were able to beat Wofford 24-7!”

The ole’ Head Ball Coach had done it again. The entire arena erupted in applause and laughter with the realization that Clemson had been relegated to ‘that other team in the Upstate.’

Four years later, and with a new face at the helm, the Gamecocks will once again face that team from the Upstate. While the same clever nature may not be expected out of Will Muschamp, managing to earn a W against Wofford certainly will be.

South Carolina will host the Terriers after a stretch of six SEC games and a week before facing off against that other team in the Upstate. A win then will be crucial to end the season on a strong note.

On offense the Terriers return quarterback Brandon Goodson, a fifth-year senior. True sophomore Joseph Newman is competing for the starting position as well, but he is more of a run threat and will most likely be used situationally.

At running back there are a lot of unknowns as head coach Mike Ayers attempts to replace an entire graduated backfield, including All-American fullback Lorenzo Long. Expect the running game to be a three-pronged attack led by Blake Morgan, Ostin McPherson and Ellis Pace. Three offensive line starters return, but there will be big shoes to fill at the right tackle spot with the graduation of third-team All-American Anton Wahrby.

On defense the Terriers return eight starters, including the entire defensive line. The linebacker corps should continue to be a strong point for the team. One significant departure is strong safety Jaleel Green, who was a three-year starter. Sophomore Mason Alstatt will be counted on heavily at the position after seeing limited time in all 14 games last year.

The question here isn’t really can South Carolina get the win. By all means, Wofford is a winnable game. The real concerns are what kind of shape will the team be in after six straight SEC games, and can the offense run the score high enough to rest some starters before heading into a big game against that other Upstate team.

Your guess is as good as mine.