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  • Gamecock Hilinski
    (PHOTO | South Carolina Athletics) South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski

SOUTH CAROLINA FOOTBALL - Can South Carolina duplicate 2010 upset?

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The South Carolina Gamecocks took out their Week 1 frustration on an overmatched Charleston Southern squad.
South Carolina set a program record for total yards (775) and rushing yards (473) in a 72-10 rout. 
True freshmen quarterback Ryan Hilinski dazzled in his debut, starting the game 12-12, and ending 24-30 for 284 yards, two touchdowns and just one interception. 
The level of competition increases greatly Saturday when the Gamecocks play host to 2nd-ranked Alabama at 3:30 pm on CBS. It's the first meeting between the 2 schools since 2010 when South Carolina upended the then-top-ranked and defending national champions 35-21. 
South Carolina is a sizable underdog (oddsmakers have the Gamecocks as a 24-point underdog) and truly have little to lose in terms of perception this Saturday. Here are 3 key factors:

-Play to Win - Coach Will Muschamp and Offensive Coordinator Bryan McClendon need to throw everything at the Crimson Tide. If they can identify a package that Alabama has not seen on tape, it should give this offense a chance to get a few points on the board early.

-Tackle, Please Tackle! - Yes, the defense was better in Week 2. However, the Gamecocks’ defense HAS to be disciplined and stay in their gaps. A wrong angle on Saturday equals a big play for a Bama offense that is loaded with NFL talent. South Carolina will not be able to withstand getting bashed for 10-plus yards after a catch or on a run.

-Fans, Understand Who You Are: No matter what happens on Saturday, Gamecock fans need to take a deep breath. South carolina should lose by at least 17 Saturday. Don’t overreact and throw away the season if that happens. Take the lumps and understand that this is a game that will show South Carolina exactly how far away they are from being a legitimate force in the SEC. 

Justin Hall is co-host of the ‘Fifth Quarter Post-Game Show’ with former Gamecock wide receiver Tim Frisby that airs on WVOC 560 AM) following each USC football game. 
 

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