5 predictions - East Carolina edition

Over the course of the season, I will be making five predictions for each of the South Carolina football games. Some may be bold, some may be safe, some may be right on target. This week we take a look at the season opener with East Carolina in Charlotte.

1. Lattimore will rush for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

To say the least, East Carolina struggled against the run last season (along with everything else). Early on in the game, the coaches will take a conservative approach as they try to figure out the ECU defense. That means a lot of Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore gets his season started right with a big game against the Pirates. I look for Shon Carson to also score a touchdown in his first collegiate game.

2. The defense will record two interceptions.

When you look at Dominique Davis' performances in the three losses to BCS schools, he threw just four touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Gamecocks struggled to hang on to interceptions last season, recording just 10 in 14 games, and with several players missing in the secondary it could be tough to pick off some passes. The defense set a goal of 30 interceptions this season and I think they get off on the right foot.

3. Carolina will score on its first possession.

South Carolina tends to struggle offensively in season openers to say the least. Predicting a score on the opening possession may be a stretch, but I believe Lattimore will be effective enough running the ball and Connor Shaw will complete a few passes to lead to the score. I'm thinking a Jay Wooten field goal will get the Gamecocks on the board early.

4. Byrd has a 20+ yard reception

Damiere Byrd has had a long completion practically every day since fall camp opened up. But that's practice. How will the freshman react in his first collegiate game with 70,000 fans watching? No doubt he will have some butterflies as well practically every other player, but I think he gets them out early and gets by his defender and hauls in a long pass.

5. Garcia takes his job back.

I feel that both quarterbacks will have good games Saturday night, but Garcia's will be better. His performance, coupled with his experience advantage, is enough to take the starting position back as the Gamecocks head to Athens next week.

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