Zach McKinley / The Daily Gamecock

South Carolina set to take on Virginia in Charlotte for the Belk Bowl

The Southeastern Conference announced today that the Gamecocks (7-5, 4-4 SEC) will face off against the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5, 4-4 ACC-Coastal) in Charlotte, North Carolina in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.

The Belk Bowl is college football's only bowl game to call the Carolinas home and features an annual showdown between the ACC and SEC conferences.

This year's appearance in the Belk Bowl is the first bowl showing for the Gamecocks in Charlotte, and it will be their fourth regular season game played at Bank of America Stadium in program history.

South Carolina has taken the field three times in the Queen City, with their most recent appearance coming in a 35-28 season-opening victory in 2017 against the NC State Wolfpack. 

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp highlighted the increased value to having a bowl game right up the road from Columbia.

"One of our best alumni bases there, in Charlotte, we do a lot of recruiting in that area, and certainly in the state of North Carolina," Muschamp said. 

The Cavaliers will look to utilize their dual-threat quarterback, Bryce Perkins, to spread out the Gamecocks defense. Perkins has a 63.8 completion percentage, 22 passing touchdowns on the season and tied the leading running back with nine rushing touchdowns.

Even with injuries on the defensive front for South Carolina, the Gamecocks will look to utilize the extra time until the bowl game to bring a healthy and well-prepared team to Charlotte.

Muschamp has learned from his past two bowl game trips and will look to prepare his team for ball security, special teams and tackling — all concerns for a team that has not played since the regular season.

"Everybody can improve. Everybody has got things we need to work on. Identify those positionally on each side of the ball, the things that we need to improve on, and we'll do that." Muschamp said. "And I think self-scouting and being honest with yourself about where you are and what you need to improve [is important]. We have a lot, especially on the defensive side of the ball, so we'll address those in bowl practices and training camp-like practices to start bowl preparation."

Gamecock fans are expected to travel well to the Belk Bowl. However, those unable to travel can watch it on ABC Saturday, Dec. 29 at noon.

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