South Carolina at NC State: Five Keys for a USC Victory

Alex Roberts@@alexCoAbassCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2009

COLUMBIA - NOVEMBER 1:  Quarterback Stephen Garcia #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks to pass the ball during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 1, 2008 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

It is finally here.  For the second season in a row, South Carolina kicks off the 2009 college football season.  Every week before each game I will be producing five keys to winning each game as the season progresses. 

This weeks game takes place at NC State.  State is looking for revenge, after Carolina gave them a 34-0 2nd half beat down at USC. 

Carolina has a group of young players chomping at the bits to get out there and represent the SEC. 

This is an underrated game, and an excellent way to kick off the season!

Five Keys to a Carolina Victory

1.  Stephen Garcia needs to start FAST. 

Garcia, USC's starting QB, needs to prove that he belongs in the SEC...and quickly.  For Carolina to win this game, he needs to grow confidence early on...preferably the first drive.

This will not only help himself and his team, but his young receivers as well.

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2. The South Carolina defense needs to return to early 2008 form.

The South Carolina defense is loaded with talent and ability.  The three game slide that saw them give up 88 points to Clemson, Florida, and Iowa needs to be pushed back in their minds.

The offense may struggle with so many young players.  The defense needs to be stout out of the blocks, and give the offense a chance with short field positions. 

3.  The freshmen need to keep their heads.

Starting the season in a hostile environment in a big game is hard for any player.  With a large amount of true freshmen on the two deep, this could become an even larger problem. 

NC State has a great home field, and loud fans.  If NC State gets up early, the freshmen may become flustered into making mistakes.  Especially that young secondary.  They need to hold their own.

4.  Make Russell Wilson make mistakes.

After injuring him during their first matchup, Russell Willson established himself as an excellent playmaker.

South Carolina needs to assert itself with a great deal of pressure, and the young DB's need to create turnovers in the passing game.

5.  Get consistant play from the special teams.

In a game that could certainly come down to a field goal, field position could become an integral part of this game.  Spencer Lanning needs to have one of his best games punting, and he needs to be ready to make kicks. 

South Carolina needs to eliminate turnovers in the return game, as well as get a few great returns.

If Carolina follows through with these five, they should win this game.  People love to look at statistics, but throw those out the window.  We do not have statistics for the young Carolina players, and the ACC statistics are skewed by weak teams.

Prediction:  Carolina wins this one, 28-14.