Why South Carolina Will Win The Belk Bowl
– Is that really the Jake Bentley and the South Carolina passing game? The Gamecock offense opened it up more this season with 190 passing yards or more in every game but the win over Tennessee. Against Clemson, Bentley threw haymakers at the eventual ACC champion with 510 yards and five scoring passes, closing with 20 touchdown throws in the last seven games after missing the Missouri thriller.
Virginia’s secondary has been terrific against the teams that can’t throw. Against the teams that could complete a forward pass, there were problems, especially against Ryan Finley and NC State in the 35-21 loss. Bentley will throw and keep throwing.
– South Carolina is awful in the red zone, but it has more offensive pop and explosion than Virginia – it can make up for the issues inside the 20 with more big plays. Virginia can’t afford to come up with any empty trips, and its O has a big, big problem with that, scoring a miserable 73% of the time in the red zone. The Cavs came away with points on just 36-of-49 trips, and it became a key issue in the losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
– The Virginia secondary might be in a bit of trouble against USC, but the run defense hasn’t been anything special, either. It was terrific for most of the season, and then it went bye-bye over the final month, allowing 200 yards or more in each of its last four games after giving away that many just once in the first eight games.
The Cavs are 0-4 this season when giving up at least 250 yards. South Carolina has only gotten there twice, and both times came in the first three games, but this might be the game to start pounding away again.