The Daily Gamecock

Preview: Gamecock football hopes for a win in first matchup against Charlotte

The South Carolina football team is looking to bounce back and pick up a win this Saturday against the Charlotte 49ers during the two teams' first meeting. 

The Gamecocks are hoping to snap a two-game losing streak and earn the team's first win since the season opener. 

The two losses came from SEC matchups against No. 10 Arkansas and No. 1 Georgia. This Saturday is the team’s second of four out-of-conference games this season.

Charlotte won its first game of the season last week against Georgia State 42-41, ending its three-game losing streak. South Carolina opened its season against Georgia State and earned its only win so far against the Panthers.

“They have elevated their program over the last few years and the team that played the other night against Georgia State is a team that I think they felt like they were going to be going into this season,” head coach Shane Beamer said.

Quarterback Chris Reynolds leads the 49ers' as the team's all-time passing leader with 8,319 yards. He returned last week after suffering an injury during the teams' first game. 

"(Reynolds) is about to be a four-time captain," Beamer said. "Man, I don't know if I've ever heard of that, where an athlete is going to be a captain on the team, all four seasons. It says a lot about that young man." 

Beamer said his defense needs to prepare for Charlotte’s receiving unit, mentioning former Conference USA Freshman of the Year Elijah Spencer, who has 16 receptions for 319 yards so far this season. 

South Carolina has struggled on both sides of the ball when it comes to third downs this season, converting on just 27% of its third downs while allowing opponents to convert 45% of the time. Beamer said the defense needs to do better at getting stops and the offense needs to convert more.

In the past two games, the Gamecocks have come out slowly in the first quarter, giving up points and then having to dig itself out of a hole later on. Beamer said he hopes to combat this with beginning practice fast by doing tackling and blocking drills to simulate the feel of a game from the start. 

Last week, Charlotte was able to capitalize on defensive turnovers early. The 49ers forced a fumble resulting in a touchdown and on the next series, got an interception. 

South Carolina is still trying to better its run game, averaging just above 70 yards per game and 2.3 yards per rush. Beamer said his linemen performed well against Georgia, pointing out they did not give up a sack the whole game, but still need to be ready for a disruptive Charlotte defense. 

“We can run the ball," Beamer said. "Some of the runs that we popped were the same run scheme over and over again, it was just out of some different formations. We’ve got to continue to be better, we haven’t arrived by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought those guys took a good step against a really, really good defense.” 

Beamer says the first step in getting resident playmakers involved is to keep the offense on the field so they have the opportunity to make plays. 

The Gamecocks have an extensive injury list to keep watch of. 

C.B. Cam Smith, E. Alex Huntley, C.B. David Spaulding, S. R.J. Roderick and L.T. Jaylen Nichols — who were out the last game — as well as W.R. Darius Rush and D.B. Devonni Reed — who were injured during the game against Georgia — are questionable. 

However, W.R. Corey Rucker practiced on Tuesday after missing the first three weeks of play due to a pre-season foot injury. 

South Carolina will host Charlotte at Williams-Brice on Sept. 24. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.


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