South Carolina will put its No. 8 national ranking on the line against UAB, as the Gamecocks play their final game before starting a string of seven consecutive SEC games.
UAB lost its season opener to Troy, while South Carolina is 2-0 after a close victory over Vanderbilt and a blowout against East Carolina.
This game presents a lopsided matchup, but as Louisiana-Monroe proved last week against Arkansas, even the SEC’s elite are not safe from incredible upsets.
Here is everything you need to know about the game.
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, Sc.
When: Saturday, September 15, 7 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line: South Carolina -33.5 according to Sportsbook
UAB Injury Report (via USA Today)
The Blazers have no significant injuries to report.
South Carolina Injury Report (via USA Today)
Connor Shaw—junior quarterback is questionable with a shoulder injury.
Akeem Auguste—senior cornerback is out indefinitely with a groin injury.
Shon Carson—freshman running back is out indefinitely with a wrist injury.
Sharrod Golightly—sophomore safety is out until September 22 due to a suspension.
Brandon Wilds—sophomore running back is out with an ankle injury.
BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications
UAB is not a contender for the AP Top 25 poll, but South Carolina has its sights set on the top spot.
The Gamecocks will use this game to build confidence as they head into a grueling stretch of games against conference opponents. The only way this game will affect the polls is if USC follows Arkansas and shockingly loses.
What They’re Saying
Steve Irvine of The Birmingham News notes that Steve Spurrier’s refusal to tip his hand about Connor Shaw’s status for the upcoming game is causing the UAB defense to work overtime.
"Connor will practice when the trainers say he can practice and the doctors say he's OK to go," Spurrier said during his weekly Sunday teleconference. "I doubt he'll do much until Wednesday or so and we'll see how he looks then."
Until then, the UAB coaches and players will prepare for two quarterbacks with different styles.
ESPN’s Edward Aschoff noted that South Carolina should be pleased with unexpected production from players in the East Carolina game, but the Gamecocks still have work to do.
Connor Shaw was out and Marcus Lattimore failed to eclipse the 50-yard rushing mark, but the Gamecocks had absolutely no problem overwhelming East Carolina. Dylan Thompson filled in well for Shaw, passing for 330 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense shut down the run. The secondary still has some issues to work out, though.
UAB Player to Watch: Jonathan Perry, Quarterback
The UAB defense is shaky, and if the Blazers are to have any chance in this game, they must get in the end zone often.
Perry racked up 317 passing yards and two touchdowns while throwing one interception against Troy. He will have to be aggressive and accurate in this game for his team to stay competitive.
South Carolina Player to Watch: Marcus Lattimore, Running Back
Lattimore had 110 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries against Vanderbilt, but he received just 13 carries against East Carolina, as Spurrier opted to develop the passing game.
This is another soft matchup for the Gamecocks, and the passing game will get more practice. Lattimore will likely see limited action again and he will be motivated to make the most of each carry.
Key Matchup: Jonathan Perry vs. South Carolina Secondary
The South Carolina secondary had questions due to inexperience heading into the 2012 season, but the East Carolina quarterbacks made the defensive backs look like superstars this past weekend by throwing four interceptions.
If Perry is as careless with the ball as the Pirates’ passers were, UAB will be blown out by the heavily-favored Gamecocks. If he can avoid costly errors, then the Blazers can keep the score respectable.
Who should the starting quarterback for the Gamecocks this season?
Key Storyline: South Carolina Quarterbacks
Connor Shaw’s status is still uncertain and Dylan Thompson looked impressive throwing the ball against ECU. If Thompson continues his success through the air, there will be a quarterback controversy in Columbia.
Thompson gave the South Carolina offense an added dimension and this budding competition will continue to play out this weekend.
Prediction: South Carolina 51, UAB 16
There will not be another shocking upset for an SEC team in this game and South Carolina will dominate every facet of this matchup.