The South Carolina Gamecocks offense didn’t look particularly sharp in their season opening contest at North Carolina State. Of course with the way their defense was playing, they didn’t have to be. Brian Maddox scored on a one yard run in the first quarter for the only touchdown of the game as the Gamecock defense completely shut down the Wolfpack offense en route to a 7-3 South Carolina victory.
College football betting enthusiasts who backed South Carolina cashed their tickets as the Gamecocks won outright as +5 road underdogs. Not surprisingly, the 10 combined points came nowhere near the post total of 48 for an easy UNDER.
The Gamecock defense held NC State to 11 first downs and just 133 yards of total offense. Nothing worked for the Wolfpack who were equally as inept running the football (59 yards) as they were passing (74 yards). After the game, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier gave credit for the victory to the effort of his defense:
Our defensive guys played their hearts out. Played good, solid football.
Spurrier has only lost once in his last twenty opening games (19-1). It marked the first time a South Carolina team had won a game while scoring less than 10 points since a 7-3 win over Memphis State in 1971. The Gamecocks defense shined in last years season opening win over the Wolfpack, earning a shutout with an uncannily similar statistical performance (10 first downs, 138 total yards).
North Carolina State head coach Tom OBrian pointed to the teams poor pass protection as the biggest liability, which allowed the Gamecocks to sack Wolfpack QB Russell Wilson 6 times:
We couldnt get anything going. And with our pass protection, we had Russell Wilson running around too much.
South Carolinas Stephen Garcia didnt put up stellar numbers himself, passing for 148 yards on 13 of 22 with an interception. Still, he picked up important first downs at the right time which enabled the Gamecocks to preserve the victory. Despite their offensive woes, the Wolfpack had a chance to go ahead late but a final drive stalled at the South Carolina 32 yardline.
Next up for South Carolina is a big game at Athens, GA against their hated SEC rivals the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, September 12th. Theyll have an easier assignment the following week as they open their home schedule against Florida Atlantic at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.