This Saturday marks the official kick off to the 2018 bowl season. Which means the Gamecocks will head to Charlotte to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in this years edition of the Belk Bowl. The garnet and black look to give Coach Muschamp a second straight bowl victory and get their eighth win and end the season on a high note. Leading up to the game on December 29, 2018 at Noon, we will be breaking down each position group and giving our thoughts on who has the edge.
Jake Bentley threw for a combined 24 first downs and touchdowns against Clemson – leading the Power-5 QBs (and the nation) in the process pic.twitter.com/c2vuwD285y
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) November 25, 2018
Jake has played out of his mind since the first half of the Texas A&M game. Since that game he has thrown for twenty touchdowns to just six interceptions and 2,025 yards. The Junior seemed to finally get past the stigma of not playing well in big games when he torched the then NO. 2 defense in the nation in Clemson. Throwing for 510 yards and five touchdowns on the night where he did everything he could to pull the upset. He did however, look to have an off day in the season finale throwing for just 199 yards and throwing two picks against Akron.
Congratulations to Bryce Perkins (@3_ToDaNeck) on winning the 2018 Dudley Award as the state’s top Division I collegiate 🏈 player‼️
— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) December 13, 2018
I will just start this by saying Coach Muschamp and Coach T-Rob have their hands full with Mr. Perkins. Perkins has thrown for 2,472 yards with 22 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. He also has 842 yards rushing and another 9 touchdowns on the ground. Him being dual threat brings another element to this game that worries me. With an already depleted secondary and freshmen all over the field, the Gamecocks have their work cut out for them. Also, not having Javon Kinlaw up front is another worry for Carolina. Perkins has the vision and the maturity in the pocket much like a Connor Shaw to hurt you in many ways.
The Edge: Push
I give this a push simply because South Carolina’s defense.
If the defense were healthy I would give an edge to Bentley. Jake is also missing a few key pieces around him. All American Deebo Samuel not playing is a big deal. I’m not saying he made the wrong move, but it hurts BIG when you don’t have one of the best receivers in the nation. Zack Bailey is the best offensive lineman I have seen where the garnet and black in a long time. Not having him to protect Bentley is huge as well. With those two not on the field the best player in the game will be playing for the Cavaliers.
Bryce Hall is a first round draft pick in many peoples eyes along with mine. If you haven’t watched this guy play go watch some film and you will see a hint of Stephon Gilmore. He is special. With 20 pass break ups he is usually in the right place at the right time. Bryce Perkins has a special weapon in Olamide Zaccheaus the all time reception leader at UVA. He has 958 yards receiving and six touchdowns this season and will be looking to get over the thousand yard mark on the season against Carolina’s young secondary.