South Carolina Gamecocks vs UCF Knights: Position Advantage


The South Carolina Gamecocks take on the UCF Knights on Saturday at noon at Williams-Brice Stadium. Both teams are looking to bounce back after rough starts to their seasons. The South Carolina Gamecocks currently have a record of 1-2 and are looking to figure out the answers to many questions that surround the program currently. UCF enters with a record of 0-3 after a loss to the Furman Paladins last weekend. Here is the position by position advantage.


UCF lost a key component of its offense in the second game of the season versus Stanford as Justin Holman suffered a hand injury and was lost for 2-4 weeks. That means the junior signal caller will be out this weekend against South Carolina. The two back-up quarterbacks for UCF are redshirt freshman Tyler Harris and true freshman Bo Schneider.

Tyler Harris has completed 14 of 32 passes for 131 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Bo Schneider has completed 14 of 30 passes for 109 yards, no touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. To say UCF has some issues at QB currently would be an understatement.

South Carolina has its own issues to worry about at quarterback. The Gamecocks lost Connor Mitch against Kentucky. Against Georgia, former walk-on Perry Orth was replaced by true freshman Lorenzo Nunez after being unable to move the ball effectively. Nunez has been named the starter, but Spurrier has mentioned the possibility of not only seeing Orth, but Michael Scarnecchia as well.

Ultimately, this decision comes down to pure talent and the fact that UCF’s backups were very bad against Furman.

Position Advantage: South Carolina

Running back

UCF dismissed leading returning rusher and All-AAC running back William Stanback. Their current leading rusher is Taj McGowan with 35 carries for 111 yards. The rushing attack for UCF has not been present at all the first few games, and the team only has 1 rushing touchdown to its credit.

South Carolina will be without starter Brandon Wilds. Shon Carson is getting the starting nod over David Williams. Shon Carson provided some heroics in the North Carolina game when he rushed for the game winning 48 yard touchdown.

Position Advantage: South Carolina

Wide receiver

UCF has a pair of wide receivers that haul in most of the offense for the team: Jordan Akins and and Tre’Quan Smith. Akins has 14 receptions for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Smith has 12 receptions for 151 yards and 1 touchdown. Unfortunately for UCF, Akins is out indefinitely due to injury and will not be available for the upcoming game.

South Carolina has playmaker Pharoh Cooper at wide receiver. Like UCF, injuries have continued to mount for the Gamecocks. Cooper has also been the only productive receiving for the Gamecocks thus far. Deebo Samuel is out for the game, and true freshman DJ Neal is expected to see an expanded role.

Position Advantage: Push

Tight end

UCF have not incorporated the tight end into their passing game so far this season. The Gamecocks on the other hand will rely on their talented tight end Jerell Adams to catch some passes and create some running room for Nunez and the running backs.

Position Advantage: South Carolina

Offensive line

The UCF offensive line has given up 5 sacks so far this season. They have not run blocked particularly well either as the UCF running game is averaging just 85.3 rushing yards per game.

South Carolina has seen the injury bug bite them big time recently losing Alan Knott, Brock Stadnik, and Cody Waldrop to injuries so far. Zack Bailey filled in nicely at center for Knott during the Georgia game and will get the start this week.

Position Advantage: South Carolina

Defensive line

The defensive line for UCF has generated just 1 sack so far this season. The defensive line has done a good job of stopping the run however. The UCF defense is currently ranked the #24 rushing defense in the nation.

The Gamecocks defensive line was manhandled last week by arguably the best offensive line in the nation. Through the first two games they were up and down but seemed to get a much better pass rush in the second half of each contest than they did at any point last season.

Position Advantage: South Carolina


UCF’s linebacker group is somewhat young this season but have had good success in the past. Chequan Burkett is the name to watch and he’s averaging about 5 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss per game. Domenic Spencer is the leading tackler out of the group with 18 tackles this season.

South Carolina’s linebacker unit is led by Skai Moore. Moore has 3 interceptions so far on the season and is the teams leading tackler. Jonathan Walton is due for a big game as well.

Position Advantage: South Carolina

Defensive back

UCF has not picked of a pass this season, and have allowed 837 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air. Drico Johnson is the teams leading tackler and Shaquill Griffin leads the team in pass deflections.

South Carolina will be without starter Chris Lammons this week and have suspended Rashad Fenton for half the game for academic reasons. The Gamecocks have been awful at this position so far this season, and allowed Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert to break records against them last week.

Position Advantage: Push

Special teams

UCF’s Matthew Wright has connected on 2 of 3 field goals this season. Chris Johnson is a threat as a punt returner also.

South Carolina’s Sean Kelly has a magic foot, and Elliot Fry made a 51 yard field goal last week. Shon Carson had his best outing as a kick returner against Georgia, and Pharoh Cooper is always dangerous.

Position Advantage: South Carolina

Next: Gamecocks biggest Mistake this Offseason

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