South Carolina Gamecocks (7-5) at Virginia Cavaliers (7-5)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 29, 2018, 12:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Virginia Cavaliers +5.0 -- Over/Under: 54
The South Carolina Gamecocks & Virginia Cavaliers will square off in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium this Saturday afternoon in College Football action.
The South Carolina Gamecocks finished their season with an overall record of 7-5 and will be going to their 3rd straight bowl game under Will Muschamp. South Carolina had some impressive wins against Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Ole Miss, however, couldn’t notch a signature win this season as they went 0-5 against top-25 opponents this season. South Carolina has been solid in Bowls as of late, as the Gamecocks have won 5 of their last 6 Bowls game, including a 26-19 victory over the Michigan Wolverines in last year’s Outback Bowl.
On the season, South Carolina is averaging 32.6 ppg on 440.2 total yards per game (277.4 passing yds/g; 162.8 rushing yds/g). Offensively, South Carolina has been led by Jake Bentley who has completed 63.9% of his passes for 27 TD & 12 INT while averaging 268.5 passing yds/g. The top receivers for Bentley and the Gamecocks have been Deebo Samuel (5.2 rec/g; 73.5 yds/g; 11 TD), Bryan Edwards (4.3 rec/g; 67.4 yds/g; 7 TD), and Shi Smith (3.5 rec/g; 54.3 yds/g; 4 TD). Leading the way for the Owls backfield has been the trio of Rico Dowdie (10.6 att/g; 57.6 yds/g; 4 TD), Mon Denson (10.4 att/g; 52.1 yds/g; 2 TD), and Ty’Son Williams (9.4 att/g; 45.57 yds/g; 4 TD).
Defensively, South Carolina is allowing their opponents to average 27.2 ppg on 425.3 total yards per game (230.8 passing yds/g; 194.5 rushing yds/g). South Carolina has forced 15 turnovers on the season and come into this matchup with a turnover margin of -4.
The Virginia Cavaliers reached their second straight Bowl game under Bronco Mendenhall after finishing their regular season with a 7-5 overall record. Virginia had a strong start to their season winning 6 of their last 8 games however, suffered some tough losses down the stretch and finished the regular season losing three of their last 4 games. Virginia biggest victories of the season came in back-to-bac week when they knocked off both he Miami Hurricane and Duke Blue Devils. Virginia will be looking to pick up their first Bowl victory since the 2005 season when the Cavaliers defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Music City Bowl.
On the season, Virginia is averaging 28.5 ppg on 382.5 total yards per game (211.9 passing yds/g; 170.6 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Virginia has been led by QB Bryce Perkins who has completed 63.8% of his passes for 22 TD & 9 INT while averaging 206.0 passing yds/g. Perkins is also the 2nd leading rusher for the Cavaliers as he has 9 rushing TD’s on the season while averaging 70.2 rushing yds/g. The top receivers for the Cavaliers have been Olamide Zaccheaus (6.8 rec/g; 79.8 yds/g; 6 TD), Hasise Dubois (3.9 rec/g; 43.4 yds/g; 5 TD), and Joe Reed (2.0 rec/g; 37.9 yds/g; 7 TD). Leading the way for the Cavaliers backfield has been Jordan Ellis who had 9 rushing TD’s on the season while averaging 76.7 rushing yds/g.
Defensively, Virginia is holding their opponents to an average of 337.2 total yards per game (180.1 passing yds/g; 157.1 rushing yds/g). Virginia has forced their opponents into committing 19 turnovers on the season and currently has a turnover margin of +1.
The Gamecocks are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Cavaliers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
South Carolina is a decent team however, this is a Gamecocks team that had trouble beating quality opponents this season. South Carolina finished the regular season ranked 35th in total offense, however, I think they are going to run into some trouble against a Cavaliers defense that ranks 27th in scoring defense and 23rd in total defense. Outside of their game at NC State, Virginia was competitive in every game this season and as I think this one is going to be close at the end, I’m taking the Cavaliers and the points.