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  1. GAMECOCK FANATICS PLAYERS OF THE GAME: South Carolina Gamecocks vs Alabama Crimson Tide Final: Alabama (3-0, 1-0) 47 – South Carolina (1-2, 0-1) 23 The South Carolina Gamecocks gave a heartened effort against the 2nd-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, but fell short in a 47-23 season-opening conference loss in Williams-Brice Stadium. Alabama was just too dominating offensively against the Gamecock defense, while the Crimson Tide defense stiffened up just enough in the red zone, holding the Gamecock offense to field goals over touchdowns. It was a game that was not expected by most to go South Carolina’s way, but the Gamecocks still showed they were ready to compete with the Tide. Here’s the Gamecock Fanatics Players for the Game – we’ll start with South Carolina: OFFENSE RB Rico Dowdle: Dowdle came into the 2019 season perhaps being passed over as the marquee back for the Gamecocks, with former Clemson back Tavien Feaster being added to the roster as a graduate transfer. But Dowdle had a stellar day against Alabama, rushing 12 times for a game-high 102 yards, including a big 33-yard gain for the largest run play of the game. Dowdle was also productive in the passing game, with 3 receptions in 4 targeted plays, for 21 yards. Honorable Mention: QB Ryan Hilinski: he stood in against the highly ranked and talented Crimson Tide, for just his 2nd game as a Gamecock, and played solidly, completing 36 passes in 57 attempts for a young career high of 324 yards and 2 touchdowns against 1. DEFENSE LB Ernest Jones: The Gamecock defense was really slapped around in this game. They really were never able to even contain – much less stop – the Alabama offense all game long. Most Alabama offensive scoring drives were of the 5-6-play variety consisting of huge gains, either on the ground or through the air. Despite this, Jones led the defense with 9 total tackles – 6 solo tackles - and 2 tackles for loss. Honorable mention: R.J. Roderick: 8 total tackles – 5 solo – 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB sack OFFENSE QB Tua Tagovailoa: Pretty easy, Tagovailoa completed 28 for 36 passes for 444 yards and five (5) passing touchdowns. His passes were rarely contested by Gamecock defenders, nor came close to being intercepted. Honorable Mention: WR Devonta Smith: 8 receptions for 136 yards, and 2 TDs DEFENSE FS Xavier McKinney: 9 total tackles – 5 solo – with a tackle for loss, and an interception. Honorable Mention: OLB Anfernee Jennings: 6 total tackles – 5 solo – 2 tackle for loss, 1 QB sack, 1 forced fumble
  2. GAMECOCKFANATICS OFFICIAL PREVIEW AND PREDICTION THREAD Alabama Crimson Tide vs South Carolina Gamecocks Who: Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0, 0-0) vs South Carolina (1-1, 0-0) When: Saturday September 14th, 2019 Kick-off: 3:30 pm ET Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC TV: CBS Network The first 2019 Southeastern Conference game match-up for the South Carolina Gamecocks is upon us, and it is a doozy of a game – as the Crimson Tide of Alabama comes into Williams-Brice Stadium this Saturday at 3:30 pm. This week’s game marks the first meeting between the two programs since the 2010 season, when the then 19th-ranked Gamecocks stunned the defending national champions and then #1-ranked Crimson Tide 35-21 to end Alabama’s 19-game unbeaten streak. It was the first-ever win by the football Gamecocks over a top-ranked opponent in program history. This Saturday, the un-ranked Gamecocks will not have the opportunity to equal that feat, although it’s not going to be their fault, as Alabama comes into this game ranked 2nd nationally. But I wouldn’t think that anyone would throw this win back, if it should happen, just the same. The Coaches South Carolina Gamecocks Head Coach: Will Muschamp (age 48), 4th year, 23-18 (51-39 as Head Coach) Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers: Bryan McClendon Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs: Travaris Robinson Quarterbacks: Dan Werner Running Backs: Thomas Brown Offensive Line: Eric Wolford Tight Ends: Bobby Bentley Defensive Line: John Scott Jr. Special Teams/Linebackers: Coleman Hutzler Special Teams/Nickle Backs/Sam Linebackers: Kyle Krantz Outside Linebackers: Mike Peterson Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach: Nick Saban (age 67), 13th year, 143-21 (234-63-1 as Head Coach) Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Steve Sarkisian Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers: Pete Golding Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line: Brian Baker Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends: Jeff Banks Offensive Line: Kyle Flood Associate Head Coach/Running Backs: Charles Huff Associate Defensive Coordinator/Safeties: Charles Kelly Cornerbacks: Karl Scott Outside Linebackers: Sal Sunseri Wide Receivers: Holmon Wiggins The Series Match-Up This Saturday marks the 16th game in the series between South Carolina and Alabama. The Crimson Tide lead the all-time series on the field, 12-3, including a 3-2 mark in games played in Columbia. The Gamecocks however are 3-3 since the turn of the century against the Crimson Tide, having also won 37-36 in Columbia in 2001, and 20-3 in Tuscaloosa in 2004. The Tide defeated the Gamecocks 27-17 in Tuscaloosa in 2000, and then won consecutive games 37-14 in Columbia in 2005, and 20-6 in Tuscaloosa in 2009. This game also features another Teacher-Student match-up, as South Carolina’s Will Muschamp was once an assistant coach on Alabama’s Nick Saban’s staff at LSU as Linebacker Coach and Defensive Coordinator from 2001-2004, and then followed Saban to the NFL as Associate Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2005, when Saban took the Head Coach job there. Key Match-ups In The Game With such a talented and deep opponent like the Crimson Tide, a major match-up will always be along the lines of scrimmage. Alabama features offensive and defensive lines that are among the most talented in college football nearly every season. South Carolina’s own lines have talent, but are still learning through inexperience and gelling as a solid two-deep. On defense, Alabama deploys a 3-4 defense that features strong Linebacker penetration and pressure, and the Tide usually leads the league in QB sacks yearly. This season they are a bit thin at the LB position due to player departures from last season, as well as some key player injuries. They will still be a formidable opponent as they simply move former 5-star rated players further down their own depth charts up into starting roles as replacements. South Carolina’s developing OL will have it’s work cut out to protect freshman QB Ryan Hilinski and give him the time to make his progressions and make accurate passes. Against Charleston Southern last week, the Gamecock OL was dominant against an overwhelmed FCS opponent, and Hilinski had no pressure all game long. He performed superlatively, but this Saturday the test becomes much more difficult. Also, the Gamecock running game was precedent-setting excellent against the FCS Buccaneers, but Alabama has long prided itself in preventing opposing RBs from having 100+ yard games against them, for years. Backs Rico Dowdle, Tavien Feaster, and company don’t need to rush for 100+ yds, but they do need to be effective in picking up consistent gains on the ground, and again help give Hilinksi more breathing room to execute. On offense for Alabama, again the line of scrimmage will be key. The Crimson Tide OL is returning two starters from last season’s unit, and both will be manning the Tackle positions, but they have experienced and talented depth throughout the two-deep. Starting QB Tua Tagovailoa is touted as a Heisman contender, and he will have a strong line to protect him. The Gamecock defensive line of Kinlaw, Wonnum, Smith, and Sterling will once again need to have a strong game and put pressure on Tagovailoa, to keep him from settling down and picking our young secondary apart. At the same time, Alabama is still a top power rushing offense, so our Linebackers will need to pull their share as well. South Carolina Will Win If Hopefully the team comes in with a good dose of confidence from the record-setting day against Charleston Southern, regardless of the caliber of the opponent. Right now confidence and playing emotionally and with intensity is much needed for this Will Muschamp team. The team will be bolstered by a rabid home crowd, and memories of what happened the last time Alabama was on the Williams-Brice field. If Hilinski can maintain his poise, continue his accurate execution of the passing game, and the RBs are able to consistently produce on the ground, while the Gamecock defense is able to contain the Tide offense and not allow too many big-gain plays through the air – don’t let the talented Alabama WRs get past the DBs for long plays – South Carolina may be able to stay in the game, and gain confidence as the game moves along. As former coach Steve Spurrier said in 2010, help give Fate a chance. Alabama Will Win If The Tide has regularly rolled opponents from all angles over the past years. They were doing that in 2010. South Carolina was helped that day with a number of Alabama miscues, missed field goals and trick plays, and a QB that perhaps didn’t respect the Gamecock DL enough to get rid of the FB quick enough. This game, the Tide will be implored by Coach Saban to focus and execute better. One can be assured that the Crimson Tide is coming into Williams-Brice knowing that South Carolina is the last SEC-East opponent to defeat them. Focus, execution of the game-plan, and just letting their superior depth and talent play it’s role, and Alabama will be in a good position. GamecockFanatics Prediction Alabama 42 South Carolina 17

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