College Football

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South Carolina hosts FCS foe Coastal Carolina

Columbia, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - The 12th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks will continue their season-ending four-game homestand at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as they tangle with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

Coastal Carolina is in the midst of an excellent season in the lower rungs of college football, going 10-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big South Conference. The Chanticleers come in as the No. 11 team in the latest Sports Network FCS Top-25 poll following a 46-13 win over Presbyterian, and they have secured at least a share of the conference crown.

Once a national championship hopeful, South Carolina fell from the spotlight after losing two of its first seven games, but it has remained in the picture late in the season by going on a three-game win streak, most recently taking down Florida last weekend, 19-14. The Gamecocks are a game behind Missouri in the loss column for first place in the SEC East, but with their league schedule complete, they can do nothing but hope the Tigers falter down the stretch if they hope to earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

"We're 6-2 in the conference three years in a row, and that's pretty good for us," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "We'll watch Missouri play a little bit, from a distance. We'll be getting ready for Coastal and try to win our ninth game of the season. We know they're a good team and we know we've had struggles with just about everybody that's come in here this year."

Even though these Palmetto State schools are located just 130 miles apart, they have never previously met.

Coastal Carolina's offense has been spectacular this season, as it averages 45.5 points per game on 512.5 yards per game while committing just nine turnovers in 11 games.

The strength of the unit comes on the ground, where it picks up nearly 284 yards per contest. Lorenzo Taliaferro (1,466 yards) is the FCS's fourth- leading rusher and he has plunged into the end zone 23 times. De'Angelo Henderson (60 carries, 513 yards, five TDs) has also played well in limited opportunities.

Alex Ross calls the shots under center, and he has completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,282 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has been strong as a rusher as well (365 yards, six TDs).

Matt Hazel is Ross' top target with 49 receptions, 734 yards and six touchdowns, while DeMario Bennett (38 receptions, 570 yards, four TDs) is also having a solid campaign.

The Chanticleers defense hasn't been nearly as strong as their offense, but they have played well enough in holding their opponents to 25.5 points per game.

Quinn Backus makes plays all over the field with 108 tackles, 7.0 TFL and three interceptions. Johnnie Houston also has three picks, while Colton Blackburn and Roderick Holder are tied for the team-lead with 3.0 sacks apiece.

Although South Carolina's offense sputtered against an impressive Florida defense last week (just one touchdown), the unit has been very efficient this season, scoring 30.8 points per game while displaying an impressive balance between the pass (251.4 ypg) and the run (197.1 ypg).

Despite fighting through various injuries, Connor Shaw hasn't missed a game and has been outstanding under center all season long, as he is completing 61.3 percent of his passes, tallied 2,246 total yards and 22 touchdowns while throwing just one interception. The signal caller wasn't at his best last week -- he completed just half his pass attempts (14-of-28) -- but he still finished with 213 yards and a score.

"We just couldn't find the rhythm in the first half down in the red zone," Shaw said of the Gamecocks' matchup with Florida. "The second half, I thought we battled a little bit stronger. We adjusted at halftime and came out and found a way to win."

Mike Davis is the SEC's second-leading rusher with 1,112 yards and he has crossed the goal line 10 times. Shon Carson emerged last week with 102 yards on just 13 touches.

Bruce Ellington is the most reliable receiver with 36 receptions for 541 yards and six touchdowns, while Damiere Byrd (29 receptions, 540 yards, four TDs) is a serious big-play threat. Davis is also trustworthy coming out of the backfield, having logged 30 catches.

South Carolina's defense came into the season with a massive amount of hype thanks to the return of Jadeveon Clowney, and while he's had a disappointing season with just two sacks, the unit as a whole has still played well in allowing only 21.3 points per game.

With Clowney seeing double- and triple-teams, Kelcy Quarles has taken advantage on the opposite side of the defensive line with 11.0 TFL and 7.0 sacks. Jimmy Legree, Victor Hampton and T.J. Holloman all have multiple interceptions, while Skai Moore leads the team with 44 tackles.

11/20 10:56:36 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 91
CHI 86
Final
DUR 6
NOR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
Final
CIN 4
PIT 0
Final
BAL 3
TAM 0
Final
NYY 3
CHC 0
Final
MIL 5
STL 1
Final
ARI 2
NYM 5
Final
PHI 0
ATL 1
Final
NYY 2
CHC 0
Final
DET 2
CLE 3
Final
MIA 3
WAS 6
Final
TEX 3
SEA 2
Final
CWS 4
BOS 6
Final
HOU 4
KAN 6
8:10pm Wednesday
MIN 0
TOR 0
Final
ANA 5
OAK 4
Final
SDP 4
COL 2
Final
SFG 2
LOS 1
1:05pm Today
PHI
ATL
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CLE
 
1:10pm Today
MIN
TOR
 
2:05pm Today
TEX
SEA
 
3:45pm Today
SFG
LOS
 
6:40pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
STL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
Final
CHA 91
CHI 86
Final
ORL 86
IND 101
Final
MIL 103
ATL 111
Final
CLE 114
BRK 85
Final
MEM 106
DAL 105
Final
OKC 112
DET 111
Final
NOP 105
HOU 100
Final
SAN 100
LAL 113
Final
MIA 87
PHI 100
Final
NYK 95
TOR 92
Final
MIN 130
UTA 136
Final
BOS 102
WAS 118
Final
DEN 112
GSW 116
Final
POR 110
LAC 104
Final
SAC 99
PHO 104
Final
TAM 4
MON 5
Final
PIT 4
CLB 3
Final
ANA 4
DAL 3
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
DUR 6
NOR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR