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South Carolina vs. Georgia State: Three keys

Talking season is over — we have a real live game to speculate on!

Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The South Carolina Gamecocks will take the field at Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time in 2022 tomorrow night, tangling with the Georgia State Panthers at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network. While it’s hardly a clash of titans, the Panthers are the type of “cupcake” that comes with a choking hazard — GSU knocked off Tennessee a few years ago, and gave Auburn a run for its money last season. Here’s what I’ll be looking for as another season of Gamecock football finally gets underway.

Look prepared. I feel like I’ve written this and at times even begged for this to be the case before the vast majority of South Carolina’s season openers, but it remains no less true in this case. The Gamecocks have traditionally been victimized by jitters, rust, and whatever else you want to call it, even against opponents who were far inferior on paper, and it would just really be a sight for sore eyes to see South Carolina run someone off the field. The Gamecocks were surprisingly dominant in their last outing — reigning Mayo Bowl champions! — but also had an ugly no-show against Clemson at the end of last season that had fans scratching their heads. Coach Shane Beamer has so far displayed more ability in this area, but the Gamecocks’ culture still needs some help when it comes to showing up and showing out, regardless of who they’re lining up against.

Get the offense going. All eyes will be on quarterback Spencer Rattler, as fans (and the coaching staff) will be crossing their fingers that the former Heisman hopeful has brought that same level of talent to Columbia after a turbulent season with Oklahoma in 2021. It’ll also be interesting to see how the controversial decision to keep embattled offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield on staff plays out. Rattler and other key offensive players have continued to speak highly of Satterfield throughout the offseason, and with a year of experience under his belt and some fun new toys to work with, thus begins the journey to see if the proof is in the pudding.

Contain the run game. The Panthers have a potent rushing attack, spearheaded by dual-threat quarterback Darren Grainger and keyed also by former Gamecock defensive back Jamyest Williams, who transferred to Georgia State and has become a vital piece of their backfield since. since. South Carolina yielded 175 rushing yards a game last season while GSU averaged just over 226, so this could be an area to watch if the Panthers are feeling particularly upset-minded.