Sports

College Football Today

USC quarterback Chris Smelley will get his first collegiate start today.
USC quarterback Chris Smelley will get his first collegiate start today.

Please see page 6D for more pre-game coverage of the Gamecocks, including notes, statistics, key matchups and more.

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE RAGIN' CAJUNS (0-0) AT SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (0-0), 7 P.M.

• TV: Pay-per-view (call 803-330-GAME to order)

• Radio: WRHM-FM (94.3)

• Series record: 1-0 USC

• Last game: USC 14, Louisiana-Lafayette 7, Aug. 30, 2003, at Columbia

• Last week: Season-opener for each team

• Rankings: South Carolina received votes in each poll

• Tickets: Available at1-800-4SC-FANS

GAMECOCKS' KEYS TO VICTORY

• BLOCK -- It won't matter how well Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher can throw if they can't get time to throw. USC's offensive line is young and inexperienced in the middle but it's time to grow up.

• AUDITION -- Smelley and Beecher are doubtless clued in to how Steve Spurrier handles his quarterbacks and can view this game as a chance to get their names permanently in the starting spot. Only one QB can start next week at No. 13 Georgia and Blake Mitchell has previous experience, but he won't have any stats this year to deserve a start.

• DON'T BE FOOLED -- The Gamecocks' atrocious special teams coverage and returning has been a focus all preseason. It would seem ULL would be an easy team to fix them against, but coach Rickey Bustle doubtlessly learned a few things about blocking punts and special teams during his years at Virginia Tech.

PREDICTION

USC is breaking in three interior linemen and won't have its most game-tested quarterback. One starting defender is out and the Gamecocks under Spurrier haven't been great in season-openers. Despite it all, the Gamecocks will roll. ULL simply doesn't have the manpower to match up with USC and the Gamecocks can view this as a chance to find their best players before next week.

GAMECOCKS 35, RAGIN' CAJUNS 10

College Football Today

  Comments