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Gamecocks and Mizzou Set for Noon Kick Saturday
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Gamecocks and Mizzou Set for Noon Kick Saturday

SEC Network to Televise SEC Eastern Division Matchup

YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE: The Mayor’s Cup is on the line as the South Carolina Gamecocks (2-2, 1-2 SEC) return home to host the Missouri Tigers (3-1, 0-1 SEC) in the first game of a three-game homestand. Game time is set for noon ET on Saturday, Oct. 6, and the contest will be televised on SEC Network. This is the fourth-consecutive SEC Eastern Division contest for the Gamecocks. They have sandwiched losses to No. 3/3 Georgia and No. 17/17 Kentucky around a win at Vanderbilt. Mizzou’s lone league game was a loss to Georgia.
 
TV COVERAGE: SEC Network has the telecast for this week’s contest. Taylor Zarzour will handle the play-by-play with Matt Stinchcomb serving as the analyst. Kris Budden will work the sidelines.
 
A HISTORY LESSON: 2018 marks the 125th season of intercollegiate football at South Carolina. It is the 112th-consecutive year in which South Carolina has competed on the gridiron. The University did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. Carolina owns an all-time record of 603-575-44.
 
SEC HISTORY: The South Carolina Gamecocks are in their 27th year in the Southeastern Conference. Carolina and Arkansas joined the league prior to the 1992 campaign. The Gamecocks earned their lone SEC Eastern Division title in 2010. The Gamecocks are 91-119-1 (.434) all-time in SEC regular-season play, but are 36-31 (.537) in conference action since the start of the 2010 season. With a 5-3 mark and sole possession of second place in the SEC East in 2017, the Gamecocks won five or more conference games for just the eighth time in 26 years since joining the SEC.
 
400 HOME WINS: South Carolina is looking for its 400th win at home. They have posted 399 wins in school history when playing in Columbia.
 
CAROLINA VS. MIZZOU: The Gamecocks and Tigers have split eight games evenly in the all-time series. South Carolina holds a 2-1 advantage on both team’s home field, but Mizzou has a pair of neutral site bowl game wins versus Carolina.
 
AS LEAGUE OPPONENTS: Since Mizzou joined the SEC, the Gamecocks hold a 4-2 series advantage. South Carolina won the first two SEC Eastern Division battles between the two schools that claim Columbia as its home, posting a 31-10 win in the Palmetto State in 2012, then pulling out an improbable 27-24 double-overtime victory in Missouri in 2013. In 2014, the Tigers overcame a 13-point deficit in the final seven minutes to squeeze out a 21-20 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium, then won by a 24-10 count at Memorial Stadium in 2015. The Gamecocks were 31-21 and 31-13 winners in the last two seasons.
 
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Once Deebo Samuel got involved, the Mizzou Tigers had no answer in a Carolina 31-13 win at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo. on Sept. 9, 2017. The Gamecocks spotted the Tigers a 10-0 first quarter lead, but Samuel responded with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and, after a Jamyest Williams‘ interception, scored for a second time just 15 seconds later, and the Gamecocks never looked back. Hayden Hurst also scored twice for the Gamecocks. Mizzou gained more yards, 423-359, but turned the ball over three times in the contest.
 
THE LAST TIME THE MET HERE: Rico Dowdle carried 27 times for 149 yards and scored two touchdowns while Jake Bentley completed 22-of-28 passes for 254 yards and two scores in the Gamecocks’ 31-21 win over Mizzou at Williams-Brice Stadium on Nov. 5, 2016. The Gamecock defense forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by Rashad Fenton and Chris Moody. Mizzou outgained the Gamecocks, 465-428, but the three turnovers were the difference.
 
CHAMP VS. THE TIGERS: Head coach Will Muschamp is 3-2 in his career against Missouri. Coach Muschamp was 1-2 against the Tigers while at Florida, and is 2-0 as the Carolina head coach.
 
SHOW-ME STATE TIES: The lone Carolina football student-athlete from the Show-Me State is redshirt junior tight end Kyle Markway. Markway,  a 6-4, 242-pounder from St. John Vianney in St. Louis, saw limited action as a true freshman in 2015, did not play in 2016 while battling a foot injury, then suffered a rib injury in the Mizzou game last season, an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Tight ends coach Pat Washington served on Gary Pinkel’s staff at Mizzou from 2013-15. Emma Lock, a member of the South Carolina volleyball team, is a cousin to Mizzou QB Drew Lock.
 
31 FOR FOUR: The Gamecocks have scored exactly 31 points in four of the previous eight meetings against Mizzou, including the last two, winning three of those four contests.
 
THE LAST TIME OUT: Kentucky scored 21 second-quarter points to open up a 24-3 halftime lead and held on for a 24-10 win over the Gamecocks last Saturday night in Lexington. The Wildcats forced four Carolina turnovers in a game marred by 22 penalties for over 200 yards.
 
MILESTONE REACHED: Junior Jake Bentley became just the ninth quarterback in school history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in his career with his effort at Kentucky. Only four Gamecocks have eclipsed the 6,000-yard mark – Todd Ellis, Steve Taneyhill, Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw.
 
FENTON SWIPES ANOTHER: Senior cornerback Rashad Fenton intercepted his third pass of the season and his third in as many games, when he picked off Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson. He also has interceptions off Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur. Fenton leads the SEC and is tied for second in the country with his three picks.
 
SECOND HALF ADJUSTMENTS: The Gamecocks have pitched a shutout in the second half of each of their last two games – at Vanderbilt and at Kentucky, and have not allowed a second half point in their last five quarters. They held Kentucky to just 75 yards in the second half while limiting Benny Snell to just 21 yards on 15 carries.
 
THIRD DOWN IS OUR DOWN: The Gamecocks limited Kentucky to just 3-of-11 on third-down conversions. For the season, Carolina has held its opponents to 25.0 percent (11-of-44) on third down conversions, the nation’s fourth-best mark. Last season, the Gamecocks struggled getting off the field on third down, allowing conversion on 39.8 percent of their opportunities. Here are the top 2018 national rankings:
 
3RD-DOWN CONVERSION PCT.-DEFENSE
RK  SCHOOL               G     CONV.    ATT.      PCT.
1.    Miami (Fla.)            5          12           70          17.1
2.    Syracuse                   5          16           71          22.5
3.    Texas A&M            5          14           57          24.6
4.    South Carolina       4          11           44          25.0
5.    Auburn                    5          20           79          25.3
 
MAKING POSITIVE YARDS: The Gamecocks are allowing just 4.0 tackles for loss per game, tying for second in the SEC and tying for the 10th-best mark in the country. Just 14 of the 60 yards lost have come via the running backs/receivers (10 for Dowdle, three for Turner and one for Samuel).
 
SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE: The Gamecocks enter this week’s game boasting the SEC’s second-best pass defense. Carolina is allowing just 159.5 yards per game through the air. Meanwhile, Mizzou and quarterback Drew Lock, sit atop the SEC’s list of passing offenses, rolling up an average of 347.0 yards per game.
 
IN AND OUT OF THE POLLS: The Gamecocks began the 2018 season just outside the top-25, ranking 26th in both the Associated Press and Coaches’ polls. South Carolina moved into the No. 24 slot in both polls after a season-opening win over Coastal Carolina. It was the first time it had been ranked in the AP top-25 since September of 2014. After a loss to No. 3 Georgia, the Gamecocks fell back out of the top-25 in the national polls, and despite a 2-2 record and a loss to No. 17 Kentucky last week, still continue to receive votes in the Coaches’ Poll.
 
OUR QB IS A BENTLEY: Junior Jake Bentley triggers the Carolina offense. The 6-4, 224-pounder from Opelika, Ala., owns a 15-9 record as a starting signal-caller. Bentley was impressive in the season-opening win over Coastal Carolina, completing 22-of-29 passes for 250 yards with a career-best four touchdowns. He completed 30-of-47 for 269 yards with a touchdown and two picks against Georgia and was 19-of-28 for 261 yards with a TD and an INT at Vanderbilt. He struggled at Kentucky, completing just 13-of-28 for 148 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. He suffered a knee injury late in the Kentucky game and is listed as day-to-day for the Missouri contest. For the season, he is 84-of-132 (63.6 percent) for 928 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. He ranks sixth in the SEC in passing yards per game at 232.0 and fifth in total offense at 254.8. On the Carolina career charts, he ranks second in completion percentage, tied for sixth in pass completions, eighth in pass attempts, tied for eighth in passing touchdowns, ninth in passing yards and 10th in total offense.
 
FOUR SCORES AND FOUR YEARS AGO: Jake Bentley threw four touchdown passes in the season-opening win over Coastal Carolina. He connected on scoring tosses of 8, 24, 22 and 8 yards out to four different receivers. The last Gamecock quarterback to throw four or more TD passes in a game was Dylan Thompson, who threw 5 touchdown passes at Auburn in 2014.
 
BE LIKE MIKE: Fifth-year senior Michael Scarnecchia is the only other quarterback on the roster that has thrown a pass in a game. He tossed his first career TD strike in the win over Coastal, hooking up with Randrecous Davis from 27-yards out. He was 4-of-6 for 45 yards in late game action at Kentucky. The cerebral Scarnecchia, who earned a finance degree in May, was recognized as the 2017 Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete. He is on record naming Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Shakespeare as the three people he would most like to have dinner with.
 
JUNIOR RUSHING QUARTET: The Gamecocks feature a stable of four junior running backs. Carolina is averaging 5.1 yards per rush after averaging just 3.9 yards a year ago.
Rico Dowdle is the starter. In the season opener vs. Coastal Carolina, he responded with 105 yards on 15 carries, a 7.0-yard average, with one score, and also caught a 22-yard TD pass, then went for a season-high 112 yards in the win at Vanderbilt, his fifth-career 100-yard rushing game. He has 279 yards through four games, already surpassing his 2017 season total, ranking ninth in the SEC at 69.8 yards per game. With 1,294 career yards, he ranks 29th in school history.
• Just 142 yards and eight notches below Dowdle on the school’s all-time rushing list is A.J. Turner, who ranks 37th with 1,152 yards. Turner is averaging 7.3 yards per carry this season and is also one of the squad’s top special teams performers.
Ty’Son Williams, who spent one year at North Carolina before transferring to South Carolina, had one of his better games as a Gamecock in the opener against Coastal, rushing 11 times for 82 yards and a touchdown. He is second on the squad in rushing with 156 yards and averages 6.5 yards per carry, with a pair of touchdowns, despite not playing at Kentucky while nursing an ankle injury. He has no lost yards on his 24 attempts.
Mon Denson was slowed early in the season with a hamstring injury, but has been used more of late. He had his best game of the season at Kentucky, rushing seven times for 32 yards. He is also a solid special teams contributor.
 
SAMUEL IS KING: One of the most electrifying players in college football is 6-0, 210-pound senior Deebo Samuel. Samuel earned numerous preseason All-America and All-SEC accolades as a wide receiver, kick returner and all-purpose performer. In 2016, Samuel had 1,320 all-purpose yards and became one of just six Power 5 players in the past five years to record a passing, rushing, receiving and kickoff-return touchdown in the same season. He scored six TDs in three games a year ago before suffering a season-ending injury. In the 2018 season opener, Samuel caught a game-high seven passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, rushed once for 11 yards and returned two kickoffs for 45 yards. He threw his second-career touchdown pass against Georgia. He had seven more receptions for 56 yards at Vandy and returned a kickoff 34 yards. He hauled in a 58-yard TD pass at Kentucky. With 22 receptions, he has already exceeded his 2017 total of 15 catches. His 5.5 receptions per game ranks fourth in the SEC.  He has scored 17 career touchdowns (7 receiving, 7 rushing and 3 kickoff returns).
 
SAMUEL REMAINS PERFECT: Do-it-all performer Deebo Samuel kept his career passing numbers perfect, as he tossed a 13-yard scoring strike to Bryan Edwards against Georgia. Samuel’s only other career pass was a 33-yard touchdown to Edwards against Clemson in 2016. His career pass efficiency rating is a gaudy 623.4.
 
NO SECOND FIDDLE: While Deebo Samuel received much of the preseason accolades, and rightly so, junior Bryan Edwards is statistically the Gamecocks’ top receiver. Just a junior, Edwards could rank among the top wide receivers in school history before he is through. He had one of his better games against Georgia, posting game-highs with seven catches, 111 receiving yards and two touchdowns. It was his third career 100-yard receiving game. With that performance, he moved into the top-10 in career receptions. He has started and has caught a pass in all 29 games in which he has appeared for the Garnet & Black. He ranks eighth in the SEC with 4.2 receptions per game and eighth with 59.0 receiving yards per game.
 
ONE GONE, ONE BACK?: The Gamecocks will be without the services of wide receiver OrTre Smith for the remainder of the season. Smith is scheduled to have surgery this week to fix a kneecap issue. Meanwhile, wide receiver Chad Terrell is getting closer to being cleared for contact. Terrell has been rehabbing a knee after undergoing surgery in March for a torn ACL.
 
REPLACING HAYDEN: The Gamecock offense has four upperclassmen capable to fill the tight end vacancy created when All-SEC performer Hayden Hurst went to the NFL as a first-round draft pick. Seniors K.C. Crosby and Jacob August, and juniors Kyle Markway and Kiel Pollard all have seen extensive action, with Pollard catching his first career touchdown in the season-opening win over Coastal Carolina. Crosby sat out last week’s contest at Kentucky after undergoing surgery on a fractured finger.
 
O-LINE EXPERIENCE: Despite losing a pair of starters in Cory Helms and Alan Knott off the offensive line from a year ago, the Gamecocks front unit boasts a wealth of experience with 91 combined starts. Senior left guard Zack Bailey owns the most starts on the team with 30 and has been given some preseason All-SEC recognition. Fifth-year junior Donell Stanley moves to center this season where he is a Rimington Award candidate. He has made 17 career starts. Senior left tackle Dennis Daley, a former junior college transfer, moved into the starting lineup early in the 2017 season and has now made 15-straight starts. Highly-regarded redshirt sophomore right guard Sadarius Hutcherson and senior right tackle Blake Camper, have each made eight starts. Senior Malik Young, who is listed with the second-team unit, has made 13 career starts.
 
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Offensive line coach Eric Wolford has started the same five linemen in each of the season’s first four games. That’s quite a change from last season, when Wolford worked nine different players into the starting front five due to numerous injuries. Two different players started at left tackle, left guard and right guard, and four different players  started at right tackle. Only center Alan Knott started every game among the O-linmen.
 
GIVING PROTECTION: Carolina has allowed seven sacks through four games, with four of those coming at Kentucky.
 
THE LONG ARM OF KINLAW: Junior defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is a force in the middle of the line. Down to around 305 pounds after coming in a year ago at about 340, Kinlaw is on track to have a big year. He is fourth on the team with 18 tackles, and leads the team in tackles for loss (5.0), sacks (2.5), quarterback hurries (3) and forced fumbles (2).
 
B-A-W IS B-A-C-K: After missing much of last season following a season-ending shoulder injury, senior Bryson Allen-Williams is back and better than ever. Listed as the starter at SAM linebacker, Allen-Williams can also put his hand in the dirt and give Carolina a solid rush off the edge. He has record-ed 17 tackles, including a team-leading 5.0 tackles for loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries. Off the field, he is the Vice Chair of the SEC Football Leadership Council.
 
MISSING WONNUM: Junior Buck D.J. Wonnum was selected a team captain a year ago as a sophomore, and is the leader up front. A two-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, Wonnum was voted the Gamecocks’ Most Productive Defensive Player in 2017 after logging 13.0 tackles for loss, including 6.0 sacks. He had three tackles, including a tackle for loss, in the season opener before leaving with an ankle injury. The injury has kept him off the field since that time.
 
CLEARANCE CLARENCE: The NCAA gave freshman defensive lineman Josh Belk a waiver just prior to the start of the season making him eligible for the 2018 season. Belk graduated from Lewisville (S.C.) High School in December 2017 and enrolled at Clemson before transferring to Carolina this summer due to a family situation.
 
BRUNSON JUST MAKES STOPS: Junior linebacker T.J. Brunson picked up right where he left off from a season ago. Brunson, who was the first player that Coach Muschamp recruited upon his hire, was second on the squad with 88 tackles a year ago. He earned a spot on the AP’s All-Bowl team following his 13-tackle, two-sack performance in the Outback Bowl win over Michigan. He is leading the team with 23 tackles on the season, including 16 solo stops.
 
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME:  True freshman defensive back Jaycee Horn earned a starting assignment in the season opener. He became just the seventh true freshman to start for the Gamecocks in the season opener since the 2009 season joining Stephon Gilmore (2009), Marcus Lattimore (2010), Jadeveon Clowney (2011), Bryson Allen-Williams (2014), Al Harris Jr. (2014) and Bryan Edwards (2016).
 
FENTON ISLAND: Senior cornerback Rashad Fenton has all three of the team’s interceptions this season, giving him five in his career, one more than Bryson Allen-Williams for the most among active players. He leads the SEC and is tied for second in the nation with his three picks, all coming in consecutive games. Here are the team’s season and career interception numbers:
 
KICKING IT WITH PARKER: Redshirt sophomore Parker White held off challenges from sophomore Alexander Woznick and graduate transfer Shane Hynes to reclaim the starting placekicking duties. He has been successful on 19-of-20 attempts this season, going 5-for-6 on field goal attempts (including a career-high tying 3-for-3 at Vanderbilt) and 14-for-14 on extra points. For his career, he is 19-of-31 on field goal attempts, including 15-of-17 from inside 40 yards, and a perfect 40-for-40 on extra points. White also handles the kickoff duties and has 12 touchbacks among his 19 kicks.
 
I’M CHARLTON YOUR PUNTER: Junior Joseph Charlton handles the punting chores for the Gamecocks and is an All-SEC candidate. Last season, Charlton averaged 43.5 yards on 55 punts with a long of 73 yards. He had just four touchbacks, logged 15 punts inside the 20 and boomed 17 punts of 50 yards or more. The Gamecocks ranked 19th in the nation in net punting with a 40.5-yard average. He has booted a dozen punts this season for a 44.2-yard average, eighth in the SEC, with a long of 66. Eight of the 12 have been fair catches, with just one (his 66-yarder) resulting in a touchback. The Gamecocks have a 41.2-yard net punting average.
 
BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID: Senior kick returner Deebo Samuel had two chances to return kickoffs last season and took them both to the house from 97 yards away, turning the trick against NC State and Missouri. He is the only player in school history to log three kick returns for scores in his career, and is the school’s all-time leader in kickoff returns with a 32.3-yard average. His four returns for a 23.8-yard average this season ranks second in the SEC.
 
LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE: Deebo Samuel owns 23 career kick returns, giving him enough chances to qualify for the school’s career kickoff return record. With 744 yards and a 32.3-yard average, Samuel is well in front of challengers Rashad Fenton (24.8 from 2015-18) and Kent Hagood (24.7 from 1981-85) as the school’s record-holder.
 
TOUGH SLATE: Eleven of Carolina’s 12 opponents have at least a .500 record so far in 2018. The 12 opponents have combined for a 43-15 record, a .776 winning percentage.
 
FRESH FISH: The Gamecocks have played 11 true freshmen this season. In addition to Jaycee Horn who was a starter, R.J. Roderick, Josh Vann, Israel Mukuamu, Rosendo Louis Jr., Kingsley Enagbare, Ernest Jones, Jovaughn Gwyn, Dylan Wonnum, Rick Sandidge and Josh Belk all have seen game action.
 
YOU WILL BE MISSED: The Gamecocks will play without the services of fifth-year senior running back Caleb Kinlaw and true freshman defensive tackle Tyreek Johnson, both of whom suffered torn ACLs during fall camp. Redshirt freshman defensive back Tavyn Jackson was forced to retire from football due to a medical issue, but will remain on scholarship. True freshman Jovaughn Gwyn had season-ending surgery on his foot. Sophomore wide receiver OrTre Smith is out for the season after surgery to fix a kneecap issue.
HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY: Two former walk-ons, redshirt senior long snapper Ben Asbury and redshirt sophomore center Chandler Farrell, were rewarded for their hard work and dedication by being placed on scholarship for the 2018 season.
 
CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: The Gamecocks do not pick permanent team captains until the end of the season. However, they return two of the four captains from 2017, Jake Bentley and D.J. Wonnum. Bentley and Wonnum became just the second and third sophomores to gain the distinction of team captain, joining Hayden Hurst (2016). Here the game captains:
COASTAL: Jake Bentley, T.J. Brunson, Deebo Samuel, Donell Stanley
GEORGIA: Bryson Allen-Williams Jacob August, K.C. Crosby, Steven Montac
VANDERBILT: T.J. Brunson, Bryan Edwards, Daniel Fennell
KENTUCKY: Bryson Allen-Williams, Zack Bailey, Dennis Daley, Javon Kinlaw
 
2017 IN REVIEW: South Carolina football concluded its 124th season of intercollegiate football in 2017 with a record of 9-4, including a 5-3 mark in the SEC. The Gamecocks won nine or more games for just the seventh time in school history. Five of those seven seasons have come in the last eight years. South Carolina defeated Florida and Tennessee, two of the big three SEC East rivals, in the same season for just the fourth time. Two of the Gamecocks’ four losses were to teams that participated in the College Football Playoff (Georgia and Clemson). The season culminated with a New Year’s Day Outback Bowl win over perennial Big Ten power Michigan by a 26-19 score, as Carolina rallied from a 19-3 third-quarter deficit.
 
PROGRAM ON THE RISE: The Gamecocks increased their overall win total from three in 2015 to six in 2016 to nine in 2017. Carolina is one of only three NCAA FBS programs and the only one in the Power Five to have a multiple-win improvement in each of the last two regular seasons.
 
GOING BOWLING: The Gamecocks played in the 2018 Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day, defeating Michigan by a 26-19 score. Carolina overcame a 19-3 third-quarter deficit, the largest in head coach Will Muschamp’s career, to post the victory. It marked the 13th time in the last 14 years that the Gamecocks were bowl-eligible. The Gamecocks are 6-5 in the 11 bowl games played in that stretch, including wins in five of their last six bowl appearances. Carolina is 9-13 all time in 22 bowl games.
 
WHERE THERE’S A WILL: South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp is in his third season in Columbia. Coach Muschamp posted a 15-11 ledger in his first two seasons guiding the Gamecocks. Only Joe Morrison (15-8 in 1983-84) and Steve Spurrier (15-10 in 2005-06) won as many games in their first two seasons at Carolina.
 
COACHING CAROUSEL: Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper was relieved of his duties on December 6, 2017. Co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon coordinated the Gamecocks’ offense and called the plays for the 2018 Outback Bowl game versus Michigan. He was given the full-time coordinator’s role in January. Veteran offensive coach Dan Werner was selected to coach the quarterbacks for the 2018 season. Kyle Krantz moved into an on-field role as the additional 10th coach. He will assist with the special teams and coach the nickelbacks and Sam linebackers.
 
IT’S A NUMBERS GAME: The Gamecocks return 98 percent of their rushing yards, 100 percent of their passing yards and 80 percent of their receiving yards from a year ago. Hayden Hurst is the only player who had offensive yards in 2017 and did not return this season. The top returning rushers are juniors A.J. Turner (531 yards) and Rico Dowdle (471). Junior Jake Bentley (2,794 yards) is the top returning passer, while junior Bryan Edwards (64 catches for 793 yards), and freshmen OrTre Smith (30 for 326) and Shi Smith (29 for 409) are the top three returning receivers. Five of the squad’s top nine tacklers return, including T.J. Brunson (88 tackles) and D.J. Wonnum (57). Wonnum also led the team with 13.0 tackles for loss and with 6.0 sacks.
 
CLASS BREAKDOWN: The 113-man roster consists of 20 seniors, 25 juniors, 24 sophomores, 15 redshirt freshmen and 29 true freshmen.
 
TOTING THE SHEEPSKIN: Six Gamecocks earned their undergraduate degree in May, including Bryson Allen-Williams, Ben Asbury, Jacob August, Javon Charleston, K.C. Crosby and Michael Scarnecchia. Malik Young earned his degree in August. Additionally, Nick Harvey (Texas A&M) and J.T. Ibe (Rice) joined the team as graduate transfers. Another 13 Gamecocks are slated to finish up their bachelor’s degree in December, including Zack Bailey, Dennis Daley, Javion Duncan, Daniel Fennell, Danny Gordon, Caleb Kinlaw, Javon Kinlaw, Steven Montac, Christian Pellage, Deebo Samuel, Donell Stanley, Eldridge Thompson and Ty’Son Williams.
 
GRADUATION SUCCESS RATE: The Gamecocks ranked in a tie for fourth in the nation and second among FBS schools in the latest graduation success rate data. Carolina checked in with a 98 percent GSR, behind only Dartmouth (100), Harvard (100) and Northwestern (99).
 
FINDING TALENT: Eric Wolford was named a top 25 recruiter by Rivals, while Bryan McClendon ranked 25th in 247Sports recruiter rankings following the February 2018 signing date.
 
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks will remain at home next Saturday when the Texas A&M Aggies make their way to Columbia for a 3:30 pm kick while the annual South Carolina State Fair is running adjacent to Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks are still looking for their first win over A&M, as the Aggies have captured each of the first four gridiron battles between these two schools, in what is now the permanent cross-division rivalry. The Aggies came from behind to win by a 24-17 count in College Station a year ago.
 

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