Gamecocks seeking to snap bowl skid against Nebraska

The Gamecocks (10-2) have matched a school record with 10 wins, tying the 1984 team.

Breaking the mark will require a change in South Carolina’s bowl fortunes.The Gamecocks have lost three straight bowl games, including a 26-17 loss to Florida State in last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

While the defense has done what was expected this season, the offense has faced adversity and struggled at times. Senior quarterback Stephen Garcia was benched, then dismissed from the team, star running back Marcus Lattimore was lost for the season to a torn ACL and star wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has seen his production nearly cut in half from 88 catches for 1,517 yards in 2010 to 45 catches for 614 yards this season.

Nebraska (9-3) has run into its fair share of off-field trouble since its 20-7 win over Iowa in the regular-season finale. Defensive end Eric Martin was ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident after a fender bender, and center Mike Caputo was cited for suspicion of drunk driving earlier the same day.

Coach Bo Pelini has said Martin will play in the bowl game and said Caputo “will participate with our football team in the Capital One Bowl.” The Huskers have won 10 of their past 15 bowl games, including three of four under Pelini.

Both teams have lost the coordinators of their strong defenses to head coaching jobs, as South Carolina’s Ellis Johnson is headed to Southern Mississippi and Nebraska’s Carl Pelini is taking over at Florida Atlantic.

The Gamecocks rank fourth in the nation in total defense (268.9 yards per game) and are especially tough against the pass (133.0 yards per game), so the Huskers will need to lean on their strong running game even more than usual. Leading rusher Rex Burkhead (1,268 yards, 17 TDs) has been nursing a sore ankle but is expected to play.

Both teams boast versatile quarterbacks. South Carolina’s Connor Shaw passed for 1,218 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions and added 483 rushing yards and seven touchdowns after taking over for Stephen Garcia. Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez was the starter all season and passed for 1,973 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions to go with 837 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

South Carolina has never beaten Nebraska, losing all three meetings, the most recent in 1987. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier is winless against the Huskers, too, including a 62-24 loss in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl that gave Nebraska the national title over Spurrier’s Florida team.

TV: Monday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: South Carolina -2.

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One response to “Gamecocks seeking to snap bowl skid against Nebraska”

  1. Chris says:

    Hey, it’s like Sinatra said, “Always bet on (Garnet and) Black”!

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