Belk Bowl

South Carolina (7-5) vs Virginia (7-5)

Date/Time: Saturday, December 29th at 11 AM CT

Location: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC

Bowl history

Originated: 2002

Conference tie-ins: ACC and SEC

Last year’s result: Wake Forest defeated Texas A&M 55-52

South Carolina bowl history

The Gamecocks are 9-13 all-time in their bowl history including a 26-19 win over Michigan in last year’s Outback Bowl.

South Carolina lost their first eight bowl games before finally getting their first win in the 1994 Carquest Bowl against West Virginia. However, they are 9-5 since 1994.

This is the first trip to the Belk Bowl for South Carolina.

Virginia bowl history

Virginia is 7-12 in their bowl history including a 49-7 loss to Navy in last season’s Military Bowl.

The Cavaliers last won a bowl game in 2005 against Minnesota in the Music City Bowl by a score of 34-31.

This is the third trip to the Belk Bowl for Virginia. They went to the first two in history in 2002 and 2003 when it was known as the Continental Tire Bowl. The Cavaliers won each of those games against West Virginia and Pittsburgh respectively. 

Series history

South Carolina leads the series 21-13-1. The last meeting took place in 2003, which was a South Carolina win. 

Key player to watch for each team

South Carolina: Defensive Tackle – Javon Kinlaw

Virginia: Quarterback – Bryce Perkins

Game Notes:

South Carolina

South Carolina underachieved this season compared to expectations that some had for the team. Despite ranking 37th in offense, they never got in sync consistently this year. Much of that can be attributed to the 71st ranked rushing attack not fulfilling their end of the bargain. The O-line did a solid job of protecting Jake Bentley however. The main issue was on defense. In fact, the Gamecocks rank just 89th on that side of the ball this year. Certainly, that is uncharacteristic for a Will Muschamp coached team.

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The Cavaliers wildly exceeded expectations this season by going 7-5. Virginia’s defense was key all year long as they have multiple difference makers on that side of the ball. The offense was inconsistent, however, Bryce Perkins added a dual-threat capability at quarterback that the Cavaliers have obviously not had before. Undoubtedly, Virginia is a well-coached team and will be a threat in this game.

Final analysis

On the surface this appears to be a ho-hum matchup, however, it should make for a compelling game. South Carolina has struggled on defense all year long. Will Virginia get creative and aggressive on offense? Carolina is missing Deebo Samuel for this game, so seeing how they will structure their offensive attack against a strong defense will be interesting as well. Expect a low scoring, but a close game in this one. 

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– David Creekmur covers College Football/Basketball, WNBA and College Women’s Sports for Full Press Coverage. Like and follow on Twitter

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