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Greg's Game Day Breakdown

East Carolina at No. 9 South Carolina

Sept. 8, 2012

By Greg Vacek
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HOT IN THE CITY: Coach Jeff Connors' conditioning regimen may well come into play as the Pirates battle in the midday heat for the second consecutive week.  The Gamecocks are on a hot streak having won five straight (Florida, The Citadel, Clemson, Nebraska, Vanderbilt) dating back to last season. The streak is the third-longest in the country. ECU brings a streak of its own to Columbia, having won each of the last four times it has visited South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium.

USC TALE OF THE TAPE* ECU
38th/205 Rushing Offense 66th/148
104th/67 Passing Offense 46th/242
91st/272 Total Offense 54th/390
80th/17 Scoring Offense 43rd/35
20th/62 Rushing Defense 46th/119
76th/140.31 Pass Efficiency Defense 43rd/115.5
34th/276 Total Defense 74th/419
27th/13 Scoring Defense 27th/13
T66th/-1.00 Turnover Margin 31st/1.00
5th/5 Sacks T-89th/.00
T-83/3 Sacks Allowed 1st/.00

*2012 FBS National ranking

TOP PERFORMERS AT A GLANCE

PASSING  ATT. CMP. INT. YDS. TD

USC - Connor Shaw 11 7 1 67 0
ECU - Rio Johnson 43 28 1 242 2

RUSHING ATT. YDS. AVG. TD

USC - Marcus Lattimore 23 110 4.8 2
ECU - Michael Dobson 19 78 4.1 0

RECEIVING NO. YDS. AVG. TD

USC - Marcus Lattimore 3 21 7 0
ECU - Reese Wiggins 6 45 7.5 0

TACKLES UT AT TT TFL SACKS

USC - Kelcy Quarles 4 4 0 0 0.0
ECU - Kyle Tudor 4 7 0 0 0.0

WORTH NOTING

• The Pirates will try to move to 2-0 for the second time in the three-year tenure of head coach Ruffin McNeill and for only the third time since 1999, when they made their last visit to the Palmetto State and claimed a 21-3 win over the Gamecocks.
• The scoreboard operator has been busy on several occasions when these two teams have hooked up previously. In fact, two of the top four combined points games in South Carolina history have come against ECU, including a 56-42 win by the Pirates in Columbia in 1994 and last year's 56-37 Gamecock victory in Charlotte. The winning team has tallied 30 or more points in nine of the previous 16 meetings.
• Steve Spurrier has adjusted his offense to fit his personnel, running the ball more at South Carolina than he did at Florida.  SEC Offensive Player of the Week (RB) Marcus Lattimore leads the nation in career yards rushing per game, averaging 101.2 yards (minimum 15 games played).  Banged up QB Connor Shaw is the Gamecocks second leading rusher.  Backup QB Dylan Thompson, who didn't complete any of his three passes against Vanderbilt, will start Saturday if Shaw can't play.
• ECU has lost three-straight games against nationally-ranked opponents and has dropped seven of its last eight non-conference road games.

Read Greg Vacek's Complete Analysis of Today's Opponent on Boneyard Banter.

Key Links: Kevin Monroe's Keys to the Game  |  ECU Recruiting  |  ECU Schedule & Scores

View the full-size animated radar loop for Columbia, SC, and surrounding region.

GAME DAY WEATHER NOTES

The National Weather Service is calling for a high of 91 degrees in Columbia, SC, today with 50 percent cloud cover in the afternoon and 51 percent humidity during the game. There is a 40 percent chance of a shower. Winds are expected to be west-southwest at 10 miles per hour, which would put the breeze blowing across the field from the South Carolina sideline. The structure of the stadium might result in some swirling air movement. The heat will place demands on depth and conditioning, factors that East Carolina responded to well in a 35-13 win over Appalachian State last Saturday. As the road team, the Pirates traditionally dress in white, which tends to reflect heat rather than absorb it, as opposed to a darker color. ECU historically has had success in the rain when playing at South Carolina, beating the Gamecocks in 1992 and 1996 in heavy showers. The last ECU trip to Williams-Brice Stadium in 1999 produced a 21-3 win despite flooding in Eastern North Carolina due to Hurricane Floyd. (Filed by Al Myatt)

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PAGE UPDATED 09/08/12 04:25 AM.

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