The Last Word
By Randall Stewart
No hyphenated team deserves to be taken lightly. Just ask our friends at Arkansas, who dropped an overtime stunner at their second home in Little Rock to the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe, who hadn’t had a winning season since 1993.
But it’s hard to believe that Alabama-Birmingham poses any real threat to derail South Carolina’s season. The Blazers come in at 0-1 after a ten-point loss to Troy and a bye week. They’ve only been playing football since 1991 and are breaking in a new coach this season. Since 2006, they’re 21-51. Gently put, there’s no sustained history of success for the program.
They played fairly well in head coach Garrick McGee’s debut with the team. Quarterback Jonathan Perry netted 317 yards and two touchdowns passing. They converted on half of their third down attempts. These guys aren’t bad. But South Carolina has talent all over the field and the depth at nearly every position to beat the Blazers, and beat them handily.
This is the type of game that give South Carolina a chance to work on areas of concern. It will give Lorenzo Ward a chance to get a better feel for his defense after giving up over 400 yards of offense but only ten points to East Carolina. It will give Marcus Lattimore a chance to pad his stats while regaining confidence that his knee can support open field cuts and hard hits. And, perhaps most importantly, it will give Connor Shaw a chance to rest his shoulder for another week before the Gamecocks begin conference play next Saturday afternoon against SEC newcomer Missouri.
As you can tell, I’m not worried about this game, and you shouldn’t be either. Heck, the Gamecocks opened this week as a five touchdown favorite. Raise your hand if you can ever remember that happening. Yeah, me neither. All in all, look for the Gamecocks’ athleticism and depth to wear UAB down. This one could get ugly.
Final score: 51-13 Gamecocks