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South Carolina 2016 opponent preview: The book on UMass

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Breaking down the Gamecocks' second non-conference opponent of the year.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Massachusetts Minutemen roll into Columbia October 22nd for the midway game in a five-game home stand. Sandwiched between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Tennessee Volunteers, this represents what would normally be a welcome respite for the South Carolina Gamecocks, however, this is a UMass team that is unpredictably capable at worst, and pretty doggone decent in reality, playing a team that is, well, we're really not quite sure.

Last Year: 3-9

The second year of Mark Whipple's second term at the helm of the UMass program saw another disappointing 3-9 campaign. Following the season, the school chose to jump ship from the MAC and adopt independent status.

Prognosis:

Losing Tajae Sharpe, Blake Frohnapfel, and Marken Michel is going to leave a gaping hole in the UMass offense, which is not good news considering their relative inability to put the ball in the endzone last season. However, this team will roll into Columbia already having been battle tested in Gainesville and Starkville earlier in the season with a revamped offense, a sneaky-good defense, and chaos theory on their side, as anything could go in a potential 'trap game' scenario between two big-name conference opponents. Explosive tailback/receiver Marquis Young could exploit a Gamecocks' defense that seemingly could do no right against versatile offensive figures last year. Likewise, a defensive squad that forced opponents into 3rd-and-passing downs with relative ease could put an added level of stress and pressure on what should be an ego-boosting midseason matchup.

This will not go as I see it, but, you already knew that anyways...

Cocks are down at halftime, but win going away 38-17.