See page 6D for more pre-game coverage of the Gamecocks, including notes, statistics, key matchups and more.
NO. 7 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (5-1) AT NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (2-4), 3:30 P.M.
• TV: ABC (cable channel 4 Rock Hill)
• Radio: WRHM-FM (94.3)
• Series record: 34-16-4 North Carolina
• Last game: North Carolina 21, USC 17, Oct. 16, 1991, in Chapel Hill, N.C.
• Last week: North Carolina beat Miami 33-27; USC beat Kentucky 38-23
• Rankings: USC is seventh in the AP poll and 12th in the USA Today/coaches poll
• Tickets: Sold out
GAMECOCKS' KEYS TO VICTORY
• No overlooking: To paraphrase former U.S. hockey coach Herb Brooks, USC doesn't have enough talent to win on talent alone. The Gamecocks should win easily today, but that doesn't mean the Tar Heels will just turn belly-up and let USC take it.
• Run, stop run: Steve Spurrier vilified the Gamecocks' rushing offense and rushing defense this week, saying the No. 7 team in the country was 11th in its own league in each stat. Cory Boyd and Mike Davis need to get primed for the stretch run today, and the defense needs to help out its excellent pass defense.
• Challenge: UNC hasn't been great running the ball, and quarterback Tyler Yates has been average throwing it, tossing eight interceptions among nine touchdowns. USC's pass defense is supposedly one of the best in the country. Today offers another chance to prove it.
Yes, UNC's coming off a big win over Miami. Yes, UNC's losses don't look so bad when thinking what Virginia, East Carolina, Virginia Tech and South Florida are doing. But still, UNC's a rebuilding team. The Heels beat a not-great Miami team on the strength of some early busted plays. The Gamecocks aren't a great team, but they are playing well enough to beat whoever they play right now.
After a week of hearing from Spurrier about how he never lost to the Tar Heels while he was at Duke, and of hearing how they have a chance at accomplishing something great this year, USC will easily become bowl-eligible today, although that's only a tiny piece of the goal they've set for themselves.
GAMECOCKS 35, TAR HEELS 18