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South Carolina football vs. Coastal Carolina: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Gamecocks host Chanticleers in season opener

Brandon McIlwain #11 of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs with the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

COLOMBIA, S.C. – The opening weekend should be little more than a tune-up for South Carolina, which hosts Coastal Carolina on Saturday. The Gamecocks begin the season just outside the top 25 and are eager to take care of the Chanticleers with SEC East rival Georgia awaiting next week.

TV: Noon ET, SEC Network. LINE: South Carolina -29.5

South Carolina has high expectations entering its third season under coach Will Muschamp, who guided the squad to six wins in 2016 and nine last year.

“I think I’ve learned a lot over the last two years, and the same thing can be said for a lot of guys on our team,” Gamecocks junior quarterback Jake Bentley told reporters. “We will be able to use that experience during the past two years.”

Despite finishing 3-9 last season, Coastal Carolina nearly upset an SEC opponent as it lost a 39-38 decision at Arkansas. South Carolina won the only previous meeting between the in-state foes, posting a 70-10 victory in 2013.

ABOUT COASTAL CAROLINA (2017: 3-9)

The Chanticleers are picked to finish last in the Sun Belt’s East Division after struggling in their first season as an FBS team a year ago.

The defense had an especially tough time making the transition, allowing 34 points per game, although Coastal Carolina gave up a total of 24 points in winning its final two games of 2017. The offense has some weapons - including dual-threat quarterback Kilton Anderson, who could cause some problems for the Gamecocks.

ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (2017: 9-4)

The Gamecocks return nearly all of their offensive production, as tight end Hayden Hurst is the only skill-position player they must replace.

Bentley is surrounded by a bevy of dangerous receivers - including the dynamic Deebo Samuel, who returns after having his 2017 season cut short by injury after three games. The defense doesn’t have quite as much back, but six starters return, including linebacker T.J. Brunson (88 tackles) and defensive end D.J. Wonnum (57, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks).

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Gamecocks are 15-1 against current Sun Belt teams, with the only loss coming against Appalachian State.

2. South Carolina has won 17 of its last 18 season openers, including 13 straight versus non-conference opponents.

3. The Gamecocks return 100 percent of their passing yards, 98 percent of their rushing yards and 80 percent of their receiving yards from last season.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 47, Coastal Carolina 13

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