South Carolina vs. North Carolina: The Position Advantage


The time is here. Finally, “Talking Season,” as Steve Spurrier calls it, is over and it’s time for football season to start again for another year.

The Gamecocks have a questionable team and there is no telling what type of production the Head Ball Coach will get out of his players since many are freshman and walk-ons starting at key positions. Who will we see step up and will our players be good enough to beat North Carolina and start off the season 1-0?

Now that we know our starters heading into the game, let’s look at the Tar Heels starters and compare the advantages each team has at some key positions.


Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Gamecocks starting quarterback Connor Mitch will start his first college football game against North Carolina in Charlotte. Mitch is a very unknown player who never really showed any flashes of a bright future when he played against South Alabama and Furman.

Marquise Williams is the complete opposite of Mitch, he has some serious playing time under his belt. Williams has 1,510 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns in his career, while also holding 18 school records.

Advantage: North Carolina

Offensive Line

North Carolina has a very good offensive line returning and they could possibly be the best in the ACC.

South Carolina has three redshirt seniors, one redshirt junior and a redshirt sophomore starting on their offensive line, so there is no doubting that the Gamecocks have an offensive line that Shawn Elliot has put in the time and coached up to the potential that he expects.

Advantage: South Carolina

Running Backs

Brandon Wilds and David Williams, in my opinion, are the reason why I think our Gamecocks have the best backfield in the SEC. Wilds has rushed for 1,277 yards in three seasons, where he has never been a starter for the full year.

North Carolina’s Elijah Hood started just one game last season and rushed for 259 yards. With Marquise Williams being such a mobile quarterback it usually takes away the run game for the running backs.

Advantage: South Carolina

Wide Receivers

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY

The Tar Heels return their four wide receivers from last season, most notably Ryan Switzer and Quinshad Davis, who will try to have success in his first game coming back from a broken leg suffered in last year’s bowl game.

Pharoh Cooper, Pharoh Cooper, and did I mention Pharaoh Cooper? Cooper will be the best receiver in the SEC this year and one of the top 5 receivers going into next years draft. Other than Cooper the Gamecocks have plenty of unknowns at the receiver position but I expect Deebo Samuel to be a great second option for Mitch to throw to as the season progresses and in this game.

Advantage: South Carolina

Defensive Line

South Carolina finished last season with just 14 sacks, but with Marquavius Lewis, Dante Sawyer and Cedrick Cooper in the mix along with Gerald Dixon Jr., I expect South Carolina to pick back up that defense that Gamecock fans grew to expect from 2010-2013.

Last year North Carolina had one of the worst defensive seasons in school history, which had to be really bad considering how long the program has struggled in football. The Tar Heels bring back seven starters but you have to wonder, do they really want those guys playing again?

Advantage: South Carolina


Skai Moore has led the team in tackles the past two seasons and I fully expect him to again this season. He is one of the best in the SEC. Jonathan Walton and Larenz Bryant will make for great compliments at the linebacker positions and will be a big reason why South Carolina beats North Carolina in this game.

North Carolina has Jeff Schoettmer, Joe Jackson and Shakeel Rashad returning at this position. They combined for only 99 tackles last season. Gene Chizik will have his hands full trying to turn this defense around into being competitive.

Advantage: South Carolina


Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Tar Heels have a solid group of guys returning to their starting positions in the secondary, who all racked up plenty of tackles and experience due to having no help from their defensive line or linebackers.

The Gamecocks were horrible last season in the secondary. Although the addition of Kansas transfer Isaiah Johnson, and Co-Deffensive Coordinator Jon Hoke should help, I still think there will be plenty of headaches again this season thanks to our secondary.

Advantage: North Carolina

Overall, I think our Gamecocks have the advantage and will win this game by two touchdowns and a field goal and show the nation that last year should be left in the past.

The game will kick off at 6 p.m. EST, and will be on ESPN.

Next: 5 Gamecocks that are Under the Radar

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