The Gamecocks are set to face the East Carolina Pirates in the second game of the 2021 season. The two teams will match up in Greenville, N.C., on September 11. The last time the Gamecocks made the trip up to Greenville was in 1997, resulting in a 26-0 Gamecock win. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series with the Pirates 14-5, with the last win over the Pirates coming with a 20-15 win in 2016.
The Pirates have very fast offense. They scored a lot of points in 2020, averaging over 400 yards and 30 points a game. This is going to be a good, early test for the Gamecocks defense. The center of most good offenses is the quarterback and that is certainly the case with the Pirates. Veteran QB Holton Alhers has tallied over 7,000 passing yards and 51 touchdowns in just three seasons with the Pirates. To go along with his passing, Alhers can succeed on the ground as well, with over 1,000 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. To say the least, this guy can get it done. Alhers has good support on offense, but he is the main strength on this strong Pirate offense.
Gamecock fans can rest in the fact that this ECU defense is an absolute mess. The Pirate defense allowed 35 points a game while allowing almost 450 yards a game last season. It is not abnormal for a defense to allow around 250 yards a game in the air, but the ECU defense allowed over 200 yards a game on the ground. This defense is super weak and the Gamecocks should be able to take advantage of it however they see fit.
How the Gamecocks Can Win
This will be the first road game of the Beamer Era. It will be a very good test for the Gamecocks right before heading to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs. I think the game plan going into this game should be fairly simple: Run the ball. Although the Pirates have a much better team than the Panthers from Week 1 of the season, the Gamecocks should go into the game with the same mentality. The Pirates have a strong offense, but the Gamecocks should not have any issues if they run the ball well. This game is going to be all about ball control and with the running back tandem of MarShawn Lloyd and Kevin Harris, the Gamecocks should control the clock all afternoon in Greenville.
How the Gamecocks Can Lose
This is going to be short and simple. If the Gamecock offense leaves our defense on the field all afternoon, we will lose. The ECU offense is too fast and strong for the defense to be out there all day. If the Gamecock offense can’t take care of the football and makes a lot of mistakes, we will not win this game.
Just like any game, anything could go wrong, but don’t worry Gamecock fans, this will be a good game for the Gamecocks. The offense will take care of the football and control the clock all afternoon. The defense will force a couple of turnovers and the Gamecocks will roll to a 2-0 record going into Athens.
Game Time and Location:
September 11, 2021 , Noon EST
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, N.C.
Prediction: 34-20 Gamecocks