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Gamecocks Host #2 Alabama Saturday, Sept. 14
Football  . 

Gamecocks Host #2 Alabama Saturday, Sept. 14

3:30 pm Kick on CBS

QUICKLY: The South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1, 0-0 SEC) open the Southeastern Conference portion of their schedule when they host the Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0, 0-0 SEC) on Saturday, Sept. 14. The 3:30 pm ET kick will be televised nationally by CBS with Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson in the booth and Jamie Erdahl on the sidelines. Westwood One will have the national radio broadcast with Ryan Radtke and Derek Rackley in the booth.
 
THE HISTORY: 2019 marks the 126th season of intercollegiate football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. It is the 113th-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 609-580-44, a .512 winning percentage.
 
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: The 2019 season marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 South Carolina squad that won the Atlantic Coast Conference title with a perfect 6-0 mark under Paul Dietzel. That team was rewarded with a trip to the Peach Bowl. 2019 also marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 South Carolina team that went 7-5 including the school’s first bowl victory – a 24-21 win over West Virginia in the Carquest Bowl.
 
IT JUST MEANS MORE: The 2019 season marks South Carolina’s 28th year in the Southeastern Conference. South 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 94-121-1 (.438) all-time in SEC regular-season play, but are 39-33 (.542) in conference action since the start of the 2010 season.
 
THE SERIES: Alabama holds a 12-3 lead in the all-time series between the two squads, including wins in each of the first 10 meetings between the schools from 1937-2000, but the Gamecocks have won three of the last five meetings, including two of the last three in Columbia.
 
IT’S BEEN AWHILE: These two SEC opponents have not met since the 2010 season, a Carolina 35-21 win in Columbia. The teams are not scheduled to meet again until the 2024 campaign, with that contest slated for Tuscaloosa, a venue the Gamecocks have not seen since the 2009 season.
 
CHAMP VS. THE TIDE: South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp is winless in two tries as a head coach against Alabama, with both losses coming while he was the head coach at Florida. The Tide posted a 38-10 win over the Gators in Gainesville in 2011, then rolled to a 42-21 win in Tuscaloosa in 2014.
 
SABAN VS. CAROLINA: Alabama head coach Nick Saban owns a 3-1 mark when facing the Gamecocks. He was 2-0 against South Carolina as the head coach at LSU, winning by a 38-14 score in Baton Rouge in 2002 and by a 33-7 margin in Columbia in 2003, then winning in Tuscaloosa as the Alabama head coach in 2009 by a 20-6 margin before the Gamecocks got the best of him in Columbia the following season by a 35-21 score.
 
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Stephen Garcia threw three touchdown passes, two to Alshon Jeffrey, and Marcus Lattimore scored three times as 19th-ranked South Carolina stunned No. 1 Alabama 35-21. Never before had the Gamecocks beaten a team ranked No. 1 – at least not in football. The defending national champions had won 19-straight games since losing the Sugar Bowl to Utah after the 2008 season. South Carolina shredded the country’s top-rated scoring defense, putting up the most points on Alabama since a 41-34 loss to LSU in 2007. The Gamecocks scored four touchdowns when they got inside the Bama 20 – double what the Crimson Tide had allowed coming in. Garcia was a tidy 17-of-20 for 201 yards and the one interception. He also picked up a critical fourth-and-1 on the Gamecocks final scoring drive. Jeffery had seven receptions for 127 yards, including TD catches of 26 and 15 yards.
 
 
SEC OPENERS: The Gamecocks are 12-15 in SEC openers since joining the conference in 1992. They are 3-7 when opening the SEC season at home and 9-8 when they begin their SEC slate on the road. Nineteen of South Carolina’s previous 27 SEC openers have come against Georgia, with the Bulldogs holding a 12-7 advantage in those contests. The Gamecocks are 5-3 in SEC openers when facing someone other than Georgia.
 
LOOKING FOR A SIGNATURE WIN: The Gamecocks will be playing their first ranked opponent of the season when they take on No. 2/2 Alabama. Carolina will be looking to knock off a ranked opponent for the first time since a 24-21 win over No. 18 Tennessee on Oct. 29, 2016. Since that time, the Gamecocks have dropped 10-straight games to ranked opponents, including five contests in 2018.
PLAYING THE BEST: With Alabama coming into this week’s contest ranked second, South Carolina will be playing an Associated Press top-5 ranked team for the 20th time over the past 14 seasons, facing a top-5 opponent in 13 of those 14 years. The Gamecocks have posted four wins in that stretch.
 
AND BEATING THE BEST: Alabama enters the game as the nation’s second-ranked team, according to the Associated Press. A win over the Crimson Tide would be considered the second-best victory in Carolina history, based on the AP rankings, topped only by the 2010 win over top-ranked Alabama. Five of Carolina’s top seven wins based on the AP rankings have come since 2009.
 
ABOUT LAST WEEK: The Gamecocks scored on 11 of 13 possessions, including 10 touchdowns, in a 72-10 rout of Charleston Southern last Saturday afternoon in Columbia. The 72 points scored was the fifth-highest total in school history. The Gamecocks rolled up 775 yards, the most in program history and the fifth-highest in SEC history, including a school-record 493 rushing yards. The Gamecocks averaged 11.2 yards per play, good for eighth all-time in SEC history. Carolina scored 21 points in the first quarter and had 44 by intermission, the most since putting up a school-record 56 in the first half against Troy in 2010. It was the Gamecocks’ 31st win in their last 34 home games against non-conference opponents. The Gamecocks did not have a negative play, nor did they punt in the game, the first time that has happened since 2011 against The Citadel.
 
THE B-MAC ATTACK: After struggling in the season opener against North Carolina, the Gamecock offense was virtually unstoppable last week against an undermanned Charleston Southern squad. The 775 yards of total offense was the most in program history, topping the previous mark of 679, set against Louisiana Tech in 1995, while the 493 rushing yards was also a school record, topping the previous mark of 474, set against Presbyterian in 1937. The Gamecocks scored on 11 of 13 possessions, including 10 touchdowns.
 
TRENDING UP: Under newly-minted offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon, took a big step forward in 2018. The offense had five games of 500 yards or more for the first time in school history, including back-to-back games of 600 yards against Chattanooga and Clemson. Last week, they posted school record numbers for total yards and rushing yards in a game. Here’s how the numbers have improved from the year before Coach Muschamp and staff took over (2015) through the first two games of this season:
             Points/     Rush Yds/    Pass Yds/     Tot. Yds/
Year        Game         Game           Game           Game
2015        21.9           154.7           207.5           362.2
2016        20.8           134.4           213.2           347.5
2017        24.2           122.2           214.9           337.1
2018        30.1           152.8           272.8           425.6
2019        46.0           310.5           212.0           522.5
 
BENTLEY IS IN THE GARAGE: Senior Jake Bentley triggered the Gamecocks’ offense from the middle of the 2016 season through the first game of the 2019 campaign. Bentley, a 6-4, 220-pounder from Opelika, Ala., suffered a Lisfranc injury to his foot late in the opener against North Carolina, and will be sidelined for an extended amount of time. Bentley sported a 19-14 record as a starting signal-caller. He ranks near the top of several career statistical categories in school history:
           Pass Attempts – 1,002 (4th)
           Pass Completions – 626 (3rd)
           Completion Percentage – 62.5 (2nd)
           Passing Yards – 7,527 (4th)
           Passing Touchdowns – 55 (3rd)
           Career Wins – 19 (6th)
           Touchdowns Responsible For – 63 (t3rd)
 
NEXT MAN UP: True freshman Ryan Hilinski earned the backup quarterback role in fall camp and has now moved into the starting role. Like Bentley, Hilinski, a highly-touted 6-3, 230-pound signal-caller from California, comes from a quarterbacking family. His brother Kelly played QB at Columbia and Weber State, while his brother, the late Tyler Hilinski, was a quarterback at Washington State. Hilinski joined the team in January and went through spring drills. In the spring game, Hilinski completed 24-of-36 passes for 206 yards, including completions on each of his first 12 attempts to eight different receivers. He made his debut last week against CSU by hitting his first 12 passes and finished the day 24-of-30 for 282 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. He also had one rushing touchdown.
 
THE SIXTH SENSE: When he got the call against Charleston Southern in week 2, Ryan Hilinki became just the sixth true freshman to start at quarterback for the Gamecocks since joining the SEC. Steve Taneyhill (1992), Mikal Goodman (1999), Lorenzo Nuñez (2015), Brandon McIlwain (2016) and Jake Bentley (2016) were the others.
 
DO IT ALL DAKEREON: Redshirt freshman Dakereon Joyner moves into the backup role behind Hilinski. Joyner, who is also playing wide receiver this season, completed his only pass last week, while rushing four times for 53 yards and a touchdown. He had one reception for 12 yards.
 
SENIOR STABLE OF BACKS: New running backs coach Thomas Brown has a trio of senior running backs at his disposal in Rico Dowdle, Mon Denson and graduate transfer Tavien Feaster.
* Rico Dowdle (6-0, 215) has started each of the first two games, rushing 21 times for 149 yards and two scores. He ranks 21st on the school’s all-time rushing list with 1,818 yards. He has scored 14 rushing TDs in 31 games including 20 starts.
* Tavien Feaster (6-0, 221) was the Gamecocks’ top rusher in the season opener against North Carolina, carrying 13 times for 72 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown scamper, and is averaging 7.2 yards per carry this season. Feaster, who played at Clemson in each of the past three seasons, has rushed 241 times for 1,466 yards with 16 touchdowns over 43 career games including 11 starts. He ranked second in Clemson history in career yards per carry (5.99) behind only Travis Etienne as of the conclusion of the 2018 season.
* Mon Denson (5-10, 215) did not carry in the season opener, but rushed nine times for a career-high 118 yards with a 57-yard touchdown burst against CSU, his third-career 100-yard rushing game. He has five rushing TDs in 23 games including a pair of starts.
 
WHO’S THE NEW GUY? True freshman Kevin Harris made his Gamecock debut a memorable one against Charleston Southern. He rushed six times for 147 yards with three touchdowns. The three rushing TDs tied the school record and he became the first true freshman to score three rushing touchdowns since Marcus Lattimore in 2010. Harris scored from 1-, 45- and 75-yards out. He became the third true freshman to rush for 100 yards in his debut in the last 20 years, joining Derek Watson (118 vs. NC State in 1999) and Deshaun Fenwick (112 vs. Chattanooga in 2018).
 
CATCH IT IF YOU CAN:
* Bryan Edwards already ranks statistically among the best wide receivers in school history. He has caught a pass in all 40 games in which he has appeared. After being limited to just one catch for seven yards against North Carolina, Edwards bounced back with a five-catch, 112-yard, two-TD performance against CSU, his sixth career 100-yard receiving game. He is tied with the great Sterling Sharpe for third on the Gamecocks’ career receptions list with 169, and is fifth in career receiving yards with 2,348.  With two touchdown receptions last week, he now owns 18 career TDs, tying Pharoh Cooper for sixth on the all-time list.
* Junior Shi Smith (5-10, 190) is poised to have a breakout season, following the graduation of second-round NFL draft pick Deebo Samuel. Smith was the top receiver against North Carolina, catching five passes for 55 yards and leads the team with seven catches through two games.
* Sophomore Josh Vann is listed as the third starting wide receiver spot and started last week against CSU. Veteran Chavis Dawkins made the start against UNC. Redshirt sophomore OrTre Smith did not dress for the opener, but returned to the field last week after missing most of last season following knee surgery. Randrecous Davis has missed the first two games with an ankle injury. Dakereon Joyner and Jay Urich, who both began their collegiate career at quarterback, have seen time at wide receiver. Urich made the move in the spring and is now wearing number 81. Joyner just started playing the position midway through fall camp and is also taking reps at QB.
 
THIN AT TIGHT END: Bobby Bentley takes over as the tight ends coach this season and has his work cut out for him, with just seven career Division I receptions in his room entering the 2019 campaign. He lost K.C. Crosby and Jacob August to graduation, then lost Kiel Pollard to a career-ending medical situation during fall camp, while Evan Hinson elected to pursue a basketball career.
* Fifth-year junior Kyle Markway (6-4, 250) is the only experienced D-I tight end in the room. He has gotten off to a solid start this season with six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, doubling his career receptions total to 12. He had a career-high four receptions against CSU.
* Junior Nick Muse (6-3, 232), a transfer from William & Mary, got a waiver for immediate eligibility from the NCAA a day prior to the CSU contest. He made an immediate contribution with two catches for 22 yards. He hauled in 30 passes for 453 yards a season ago for the Tribe.
* Junior Chandler Farrell, a former walk-on center, moved to tight end during fall camp to add depth. He is still looking for his first reception.
 
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Senior tight end Kiel Pollard was forced to give up his playing career during fall camp. Pollard suffered a small fracture in his neck, which was to have sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. However, during an MRI, the doctors discovered a cyst on his spinal cord, which appears to have been there since he was a child. The severity of the situation and the possible long-term consequences from that medical condition forced him to retire. Pollard, who will graduate in December, is helping as a student-assistant coach. He served as a captain in the season opener against North Carolina.
 
SHUFFLING THE O-LINE: The Gamecocks have some experience and some depth along the offensive line in what offensive line coach Eric Wolford considers his most athletic unit since rejoining the Carolina staff. However, Wolford shuffled the deck after the opener, inserting two new starters into the lineup last week against CSU.
* Sixth-year senior Donell Stanley (6-3, 325) anchors the unit. Stanley worked at left guard in the season opener, but moved back to center last week. He worked primarily at center during the 2018 season.
* The tackle positions are manned on the left side by redshirt junior Sadarius Hutcherson (6-4, 320) and on the right side by Dylan Wonnum (6-5, 310). Hutcherson played guard in 2018, but is strong and athletic enough to handle the tackle position. He earned a spot on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks” list. Wonnum was a Freshman All-American last season.
* The Gamecocks started a new pair of guards against CSU, with redshirt sophomore Jordan Rhodes (6-4, 330) taking over at left guard and redshirt freshman Jovaughn Gwyn (6-2, 305) getting the nod at right guard.
* Redshirt freshman Hank Manos (6-4, 290) started at center in the season opener. He was also the starter at center for the Belk Bowl last December. Redshirt sophomore Eric Douglas (6-4, 315), who made started at right guard in the season opener, is a swing guy who could play several positions if needed.
 
CAN’T TOUCH THIS: Carolina’s number of sacks allowed has dipped from 41 in 2016 the year prior to Eric Wolford’s arrival, to 29 in 2017 and to 23 in 2018 the fewest since the 2013 season. The Gamecocks have allowed three sacks through two games this season.
 
HEALTH IS THE KEY: The Gamecocks are looking to bounce back on defense this season after injuries took a major toll on the unit a season ago. What has long been Coach Muschamp’s calling card, the defense will reap the benefits of having several players forced into duty last season, a campaign in which 19 different players made starts on the defensive side of the ball, including three true freshmen defensive backs in Jaycee Horn, Israel Mukuamu and R.J. Roderick. This season, a pair of true freshmen in cornerback John Dixon and nickel Jammie Robinson earned starts in the season opener.
 
HARD TO SCORE ON: The Gamecocks have not allowed a touchdown in any of the first three quarters of their two games this season. They have outscored their opponents by a 71-12 margin through the first three quarters. Carolina has allowed just two touchdowns in six redzone situations this season.
 
DON’T TREAD ON ME: After struggling to stop the run in the season opener against North Carolina, the Gamecocks responded by allowing just 72 rushing yards on 24 carries against Charleston Southern. 44 of the 72 yards came on one play, so the Bucs gained just 38 yards on the other 23 totes.
 
SENIORS LEAD THE WAY UP FRONT: This is easily the best defensive front in both depth and talent assembled at South Carolina since the days of Jadeveon Clowney and company raised havoc throughout the SEC. Coach Muschamp has publicly put the pressure on a quintet of seniors to lead the way up front.
* Most of the preseason accolades have gone to Javon Kinlaw (6-6, 310), who some NFL experts have labeled a possible first-round draft pick. He had a solid opener with four tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, a quarterback hurry and a blocked field goal. He logged his second sack in as many games last week against CSU.
* Expect D.J. Wonnum (6-5, 260) to have a big year after missing eight games a year ago with an ankle injury. Wonnum was named a team captain in 2017 after logging 13.0 tackles for loss including 6.0 sacks. He logged three of the Gamecocks’ six tackles for loss in the season opener and registered seven tackles overall.
* Kobe Smith (6-2, 300) is a “glue guy” in the middle of the line. He had four stops in the opener against UNC.
* Keir Thomas (6-2, 275) is a swing guy who could play either inside or set the edge. He is currently sidelined with an infection in his ankle.
* Daniel Fennell (6-2, 255) is coming off an ACL, but hasn’t missed a beat and is a very consistent performer.
 
BROTHERLY LOVE: When Dylan and D.J. Wonnum both started against Tennessee in 2018, they become the first set of brothers to start in a game for Carolina since 2014 when Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. were starters along the defensive line. Dylan was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his efforts against the Vols, while D.J. earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors for the same game. It was the first time a set of brothers earned SEC honors in the same week.
 
IN BACK OF THE LINE: What was a very thin unit that saw T.J. Brunson and Sherrod Greene each play over 900 snaps a year ago, the Gamecock linebacking corps is much deeper this season.
* T.J. Brunson (6-1, 230) is the veteran leader of the group. The first player that Coach Muschamp recruiting at Carolina, Brunson has logged 219 career tackles, including 106 last season alone. A 2018 team captain, he opened the 2019 season with nine stops against UNC.
* Sophomore Ernest Jones (6-2, 235) has continued to improve and earned the starting spot at the MIKE position, allowing Brunson to move to WILL, which he played earlier in his career. An excellent communicator, Jones starred in his first start against UNC, registering a team-high 12 tackles, along with a pair of pass breakups.
* Sherrod Greene (6-1, 230) started every game last season and is now in a reserve role. Eldridge Thompson (6-1, 225) is a sixth-year senior, while junior Damani Staley (6-0, 235) and sophomore Rosendo Louis Jr. (6-2, 250) figure to see playing time. True freshman Jahmar Brown (6-1, 205) has worked his way into the two-deep.
 
RECONFIGURED SECONDARY: Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson has a talented, but relatively inexperienced group in his meeting room.
* J.T. Ibe (5-10, 195) is a sixth-year graduate transfer who, along with junior Jamyest Williams (5-8, 180) are the two veterans in the secondary. Ibe missed the opener with a pec injury, something he dealt with at Rice as well, but returned to the starting lineup last week. Williams logged nine stops in the opener.
* A pair of sophomores in Jaycee Horn (6-1, 200) and Israel Mukuamu (6-4, 205) have the ability to play more man coverage from their cornerback positions. Both are stars in the making, according to the coaching staff. Horn logged a sack and forced a pair of fumbles in the season opener. Mukuamu logged seven tackles against UNC and an interception against CSU.
* Versatile senior A.J. Turner (5-10, 190) has been transitioning from running back to defensive back for his final campaign. He missed the opener with a shoulder injury and left the CSU game early with a dislocated thumb.
* True freshmen Jammie Robinson (5-11, 200) and John Dixon (6-0, 190) both started vs. UNC. They became the eighth and ninth true freshman to start a season opener for the Gamecocks since the 2009 season, joining Stephon Gilmore (2009), Marcus Lattimore (2010), Jadeveon Clowney (2011), Bryson Allen-Williams (2014), Al Harris Jr. (2014), Bryan Edwards (2016) and Jaycee Horn (2018). Dixon had a pick against CSU.
 
PICK THIS: After logging just six interceptions through the entire 2018 campaign, the Gamecocks came up with three picks last week against Charleston Southern, the most by Carolina in a game since the Vanderbilt win in 2015.
HUTZLER’S HEROES: Special teams coach Coleman Hutzler has the luxury of having all of his kickers back in 2019 for the 2019, including second-team All-SEC punter Joseph Charlton, who is the school’s career leader in punting average, placekicker Parker White, who connected on 81 percent of his field goal attempts last season, and kickoff specialist Will Tommie, who had 31 touchbacks on 41 kickoffs a season ago. Starting punt returner Bryan Edwards also returns for his senior season.
 
KICKING IT WITH PARKER: Redshirt junior Parker White is in his third season handling the extra point and field goal attempts. White was 2-for-3 in the field goal department against North Carolina, connecting from 32 and 39 yards and missing from 53. His only attempt against CSU was successful from 47 yards, matching his career long. He is 30-of-45 (66.7 percent) in career field goal attempts, including 23-of-25 (92.0 percent) from inside 40 yards. He is 78-for-79 on extra point attempts, including 7-for-7 this season.
 
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Parker White owns three fourth-quarter game-winning field goals in his career. He provided the deciding points in wins over Louisiana Tech (2017), Missouri (2018) and Tennessee (2018).
 
I’M CHARLTON YOUR PUNTER: Senior Joseph Charlton handles the punting chores for the Gamecocks and is an All-SEC candidate. He was solid in the opener with a long of 59 yards and twice pinning the Tar Heels inside the 5. He did not punt last week, the first time Carolina has gone without punting in a game since 2011 against The Citadel. Last season, Charlton averaged 44.8 yards per punt, fifth in the SEC and 13th nationally, while earning second-team All-SEC honors from the league’s coaches. His average was the best single-season mark in school history, just ahead of the 44.3-yad mark set by Daren Parker in 1989 and matched by Sean Kelly in 2015.
 
PUNT RETURN SPECIALIST: Bryan Edwards serves as the Gamecocks’ primary punt returner. He had a big game in the season opener against North Carolina, returning three punts for 66 yards with a career-long of 38. His 22.0-yard average ranks third in the nation. Edwards handled those duties a year ago, returning 12 punts for 95 yards, an average of 7.9 yards per return, with a long of 32.
 
REPLACING DEEBO: It’s tough to replace the school’s record-holder in kickoff return average, but Shi Smith is doing his best to make people forget Deebo Samuel. Smith returned three kicks for 100 yards, including a 60-yarder that set up a third-quarter touchdown against North Carolina. CSU pooched all of their kickoffs last week to stay away from the electric Smith.
 
SNAPPING BACK: Graduate transfer Matt Oliveira handles the short and deep snapping duties, replacing two-year starter Ben Asbury. Oliveira has experience, having been the long snapper each of the last two seasons for Maryland.
 
WHERE THERE’S A WILL: Will Muschamp is in his fourth season guiding the Gamecock football program. He owns a record of 23-18. He became the first coach to take South Carolina to bowl games in each of his first three seasons. Steve Spurrier’s first three Carolina teams (2005-07) were bowl-eligible, but the 2007 squad did not receive a bowl bid despite posting a 6-6 campaign.
 
SEC SUCCESS: The Gamecocks have put together back-to-back seasons of four or more SEC wins for the first time since 2012-13. It’s also just the sixth time in program history that’s occurred.
 
BREAKING IT DOWN: The 112-man roster consists of 21 seniors, 25 juniors, 23 sophomores, 17 redshirt freshmen and 26 true freshmen.
 
WATCH ME NOW: The Gamecocks have 11 players on the Senior Bowl preseason watch list, the third-highest total in the country. The list includes Jake Bentley, T.J. Brunson, Joseph Charlton, Rico Dowdle, Bryan Edwards, Tavien Feaster, Javon Kinlaw, Kyle Markway, Donell Stanley, Keir Thomas and D.J. Wonnum.
 
OLD-TIMERS GAME: The Gamecocks have four players – Caleb Kinlaw, J.T. Ibe, Donell Stanley and Eldridge Thompson – who have been granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA for the 2019 season. Their first collegiate season was in 2014. South Carolina and Akron are the only Division I schools with four sixth-year players on the roster.
 
GRAD TRANSFERS: The Gamecocks welcomed two grad transfers this fall. Running back Tavien Feaster comes to Carolina after graduating from Clemson, while deep snapper Matt Oliveira joined the squad after graduating from Maryland. J.T. Ibe is another graduate transfer from Rice, who is in his second season with the Gamecocks.
 
POSITION SHUFFLE: Since the printing of the 2019 media guide, A.J. Turner has spent most of his time in the secondary after being listed as a running back; Darius Rush was moved to the secondary after playing wide receiver and is now wearing number 28 rather than 81; Chandler Farrell converted from center to tight end, changing his number from 60 to 31. Jay Urich, listed as a quarterback, has been a regular in the wide receiver unit and now wears number 81. Dakeron Joyner, the second-string quarterback, has been used as a wide receiver.
 
YOUR MONEY’S NO GOOD HERE: Just prior to the start of the 2019 academic year, walk-on linebacker Spencer Eason-Riddle was rewarded with a scholarship.
 
FAMILY TIES: Sophomore defensive back Jaycee Horn is the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, junior linebacker Damani Staley is the son of former Gamecock and NFL running back Duce Staley, while 2019 signee Shilo Sanders is the son of former NFL and MLB standout Deion Sanders.
 
TOTING THE SHEEPSKIN: Thirteen Gamecocks already have their undergraduate degree in hand. Those who have graduated include: Joseph Charlton, Mon Denson, Spencer Eason-Riddle, Chandler Farrell, Tavien Feaster, Daniel Fennell, Bailey Hart, J.T. Ibe, Caleb Kinlaw, Kyle Markway, Matt Oliveira, Donell Stanley and Eldridge Thompson.
 
THE CAP AND GOWN AWAITS: Fifteen Gamecocks are on track to graduate in December. The list includes: Michael Almond, Jake Bentley, T.J. Brunson, Rico Dowdle, Bryan Edwards, Daniel Fennell (Master’s), Sadarius Hutcherson, Javon Kinlaw, Sean McGonigal, Kiel Pollard, Kobe Smith, Keir Thomas, Will Tommie, A.J. Turner, and Alex Woznick.
 
LOVE US FOR OUR MINDS: Gamecock football student-athletes posted a combined 3.026 GPA in the fall semester of 2018, the best in school history, then topped that with a 3.084 team GPA in the spring of 2019.
 
UP NEXT: The Mayor’s Cup is at stake when the South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Columbia, Mo. next Saturday for a battle with the Missouri Tigers. The Gamecocks have won the last three games in the series to take a 5-4 lead in the all-time series between the two schools that call Columbia home. Carolina owns a 2-1 mark when playing the Tigers in the Show Me State, including a 31-13 win in 2017. That game will start a stretch of six-consecutive games against SEC Eastern Division opponents for the Gamecocks.
 

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