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QB Bentley leads South Carolina vs. Virginia in Belk Bowl

December 28, 2018
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Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall, right, and South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, left, pose for a photo during media day for the Belk Bowl NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Virginia plays South Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Reed)

Belk Bowl: South Carolina (7-5) vs. Virginia (7-5) at Charlotte, North Carolina, Saturday, noon EST (ABC)

Line: South Carolina by 5

Series Record: South Carolina leads 20-13-1

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The Gamecocks make their third straight bowl game appearance. They beat Michigan 26-19 in the Outback Bowl last season. The Cavaliers look to avenge last year’s 49-7 loss to Navy in the Military Bowl.

KEY MATCHUP

South Carolina QB Jake Bentley is closing in on 3,000 yards passing — with 510 of those coming against No. 2 Clemson. He threw for 27 TDs this season with 12 interceptions. He faces a Virginia defense that ranks 14th in the nation against the pass and is allowing less than 22 points per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

South Carolina: WR Bryan Edwards. With WR Deebo Samuel sitting out the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft, the Gamecocks are expected to lean on Edwards. He had three 100-yard receiving games and is second on the team with 52 receptions for 809 yards and seven TDs.

Virginia: QB Bryce Perkins. The Arizona Western Community College transfer has been a pleasant surprise, setting a school record for total offense with 3,314 yards. He threw for 2,472 yards with 22 touchdowns and ran for 842 yards and nine scores.

FACTS & FIGURES

Teams were once in same conference in Atlantic Coast Conference, but haven’t played since 2003 .... Gamecocks eclipsed 500 yards of offense in five games this season. ... South Carolina QB Jake Bentley has 16 TDs passing and four interceptions in last five games. ... Bentley has nine completions of 50-plus yards in last six games. ... Gamecocks offensive line allowed 20 sacks in 2018, fewest since 2003. ... South Carolina has only six interceptions, three by CB Rashad Fenton. ...... Virginia played in first two Belk Bowls (2002 and 2003) and won both. ... Virginia QB Bryce Perkins’ brother Paul Perkins plays RB for NFL’s New York Giants. ... RB Jordan Ellis led Cavaliers in rushing with 931 yards with nine TDs.... HB Olamide Zaccheaus needs five receptions to break own single-season school record of 85. ... Virginia DE Bryce Hall leads the nation with 20 pass breakups.

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