East Carolina Pirates at South Carolina Gamecocks Preview


This has got to be exciting for the East Carolina Pirates. They come into Columbia to face the South Carolina Gamecocks of the SEC with a good chance to win. This good chance to win is based on the effectiveness of their offense and the success that Texas A&M’s similar offense had last week against the Gamecocks. A win would get the Pirates noticed on the national stage. A loss would allow the Gamecocks to rebuild their season, which seemed to get blown away in Week 1 by the Aggies.

More from East Carolina Pirates

Date: September 6

Time: 7:00 PM


Venue: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC)

September 8, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson (17) passes against the East Carolina Pirates in the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Last Time: 2012- Gamecocks 48 Pirates 10

Yes, South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson has played the Pirates before. He had a good game too with 330 yards passing and three touchdowns. Running back Marcus Lattimore was not much of a factor in the game, though he did get into the end zone. A young Shane Carden came in relief and provided the only touchdown for the Pirates on that afternoon. It is a tape that will probably get some looks if it has not already.

Opponent: South Carolina Gamecocks (0-1)

The Gamecocks came into the season as a trendy top ten pick and a dark horse pick to win the SEC. Then came Kevin Sumlin and Kenny Hill and made all that talk look very presumptuous. Now South Carolina is trying to right the ship before it enters the meat of the SEC schedule.

Aug 28, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier gives out instructions during warm ups before the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Since his return to the SEC, Coach Steve Spurrier has reined in the fun-n-gun playbook that he used with such success at Florida in the 1990s. He has adapted to the more physical SEC and developed a more balanced attack. It didn’t hurt that he had a running back like Marcus Lattimore to use. Lattimore has been gone, but South Carolina still relies on its running game to get things going. Tailback Mike Davis has been questionable for the game, but will likely go for Saturday.

Dylan Thompson has a record of success against ECU in the past, so pass rush will be important. ECU runs a different defensive scheme than it did two years ago, so it won’t all be the same for Thompson.
On the other side of the ball, ECU will have to worry about the South Carolina defensive line. The hog mollies of Texas A&M did not worry about them much, but those Aggies were bigger and more experienced than the line that ECU will bring to Columbia.

The last thing to worry about is how South Carolina will respond to their beatdown last week. I cannot imagine an outcome where Spurrier has not installed a chip on his team’s shoulder. After all, no one believes in them right now. There is a good chance that ECU will get South Carolina’s best game.

Prediction: 38-35 Gamecocks
ONJ Record: 4-0

As much as I would like to call the upset I just can’t. South Carolina will focus on fixing all of the mistakes that it committed against A&M. It does not help ECU that they run a similar offense to the Sumlin Spread. It will only reinforce the determination of the South Carolina defenders to shut it down the one time they need to. That is all it takes to win a shootout. East Carolina should not lose heart if they lose this one, there are still important games to be played in the coming weeks that may matter more to them- Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

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