Primetime College Football: Golden Eagles vs Cocks
This game goes down on ESPN network and it features Southern Miss Golden Eagles take on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, who will be facing off for their first ever meeting at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
Southern Miss hasn’t suffered a losing season since 1993 and is coming off to back to back 7-6 finishes under third year head coach Larry Fedora. The Golden Eagles however lost to Middle Tennessee in the New Orleans Bowl to finish out the year.
The Golden Eagles return both quarterbacks Austin Davis, 1,665 yards 10 touchdowns, and Martevious Young, who filled in during Davis’s foot injury to throw for 1,861 yards 16 touchdowns. Will coach Fedora rotate the quarterbacks or simply stick with one and ride him all season long is a definitely a question I will be watching all season to. Who ever is under center will have a play-maker in wide receiver DeAndre Brown, 6-6 231-pound who had 114 catches for 1,902 yards and 21 scores through two years. That’s about where all the positives stop for Southern Miss on the offensive side as they lost four starters on the line and the school’s all-time leading rusher.
The defense though returns all seven starters are on the front, more importantly tackle Anthony Gray, 40 tackles, and end Cordarro Law, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. At linebacker they return Korey Williams, 121 tackles, Ronnie Thornton, 114 stops, and Martez Smith, 82 tackles.
Steve Spurrier starts his sixth season as the Gamecocks head coach compiling a 35-28 record so far but a far cry his success as Florida’s head man. The Gamecocks finished 7-6 return an experienced quarterback in Stephen Garcia, 2,862 yards and 17 touchdowns with 10 INTS. Garcia will once again look to hook up with sophomore Alshon Jeffery, 46 catches for 763 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Gamecocks suffered a setback on the offensive side when senior tight end Weslye Saunders was suspended indefinitely.
Where as a Spurrier coach squad is thought to be all about offense the Gamecocks defense is now his strength. South Carolina returns seven starters back from a defense which ranked 15th in the nation. Defensive end Cliff Matthews is back after posting 7 sacks. Shaq Wilson the top returning linebacker will go from the inside spot, where he had 85 tackles, to outside. The defense as a whole last season also only allowed 163 ypg through the air to rank 8th nationally.
PICK: University of South Carolina Gamecocks