North Carolina-South Carolina Preview Capsule
North Carolina at No. 6 South Carolina, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: South Carolina by 11.
Series Record: North Carolina leads 34-17-4
WHAT’S AT STAKE:
A strong start to the season for both teams. North Carolina is searching for a signature victory on national TV in the second season of coach Larry Fedora. South Carolina hopes to gain some momentum to take into its Southeastern Conference opener — the Gamecocks go to Georgia next week — against its regional rival.
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney against North Carolina QB Bryn Renner. Fedora runs a high-speed offense designed to push the pace and wear out defenses. The Tar Heels with Renner under center averaged more than 485 yards a game last year. Clowney is in the best shape of his life — the 274-pound All-American ran a 4.46-second time in the 40-yard dash — and has looked unblockable at South Carolina practices and workouts.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
North Carolina: LT James Hurst gets the first chance at handling Clowney. Hurst is a 6-7, 305-pound senior who was a first-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference lineman pick last year by league coaches.
South Carolina: RB Mike Davis, the sophomore who’s the younger brother of former Clemson 1,000-yard rusher James Davis, will be the first tailback other than Marcus Lattimore to open in the Gamecocks backfield since 2009. Davis gained 275 yards and two touchdowns last year.
FACTS & FIGURES
South Carolina is coming off two straight 11-win seasons, a first in school history. .... Teams haven’t played since South Carolina’s 21-15 victory at North Carolina in 2007. .. Steve Spurrier went 3-0 over the Tar Heels when he was Duke’s head coach from 1987-89. North Carolina has gone 21-2 in the series since Spurrier left for Florida in 1990. ... Spurrier is 22-1 in season openers as a head coach, the only loss coming while at Duke to South Carolina in 1989. He’s won his past 20 straight including all eight with the Gamecocks. ... Renner hasn’t thrown an interception his last 91 attempts. He’s five touchdown passes away from moving past T.J. Yates as second on the Tar Heels career list in that category.