Series history - East Carolina

In this series, GamecockAnthem takes a look at the series history of each of the opponents in the 2012 season. Today we take a look at the home-opener opponent, East Carolina

Series history - South Carolina leads 11-5; in Columbia South Carolina leads 8-4
Last 10 meetings - Series tied 5-5
Under Spurrier - South Carolina leads 1-0
Largest margin of victory - South Carolina 52-10 in 1985
Closest margin of victory - East Carolina 20-18 in 1992
Last game - South Carolina 56-37 in 2011

Prior to South Carolina joining the SEC in 1992, the Gamecocks and East Carolina were common opponents in 80s and into the 90s. The Gamecocks and Pirates hooked up every year from 1984-1994. South Carolina won the first eight games in the series with a majority of the meetings resulting in blowouts. After winning the first meeting 1977 by a score of 19-16, the closest margin in the next seven meetings was 17 points in a 17-0 win in 1988. The Pirates finally broke through in 1991 with a 31-20 win in Greenville against a Gamecock team that finished 3-6-2 in its final season as an independent school. The Pirates followed that up with a 20-18 upset the following year in Columbia. South Carolina ended the streak with a 27-3 win the following year, but would lose the next two. Entering last season's contest, the Pirates had won five of the last seven match-ups.

Most memorable game – The 1999 match-up between the Gamecocks and Pirates is easily the most memorable game, and it was more of what surrounded the game that made it most memorable. Two weeks after North Carolina was hammered by Hurricane Dennis (the Gamecocks lost 10-0 to NC State in a torrential downpour in Lou Holtz's first game as head coach), Hurricane Floyd was bearing down on the North Carolina coast. The Pirates were forced to come to Columbia early and flooding in Greenville forced the Pirates to stay the following week and prepare for its contest with Miami the following week. The Pirates won the contest with the Gamecocks 21-3 and defeated Miami the next week.

Last time out – To say that last year's game was a tale of two halves is an understatement. The two teams opened the season up in Charlotte and the Pirates quickly got out to a 17-0 lead. Stephen Garcia came off the bench to replace Conner Shaw and quickly drew the Gamecocks to within a field goal, 17-14. ECU struck again on the final play of the first half to take a 24-14 lead into the locker room. Carolina would use turnovers to score 21 points in 1:59 in the third quarter to reverse the 10-point deficit into an 11-point lead. Carolina would go on to a 56-37 win, but it was not the highest scoring game in the series. ECU beat Carolina 56-42 in the 1994 meeting.

Key to a win – Carolina will be playing in their first home game and there will be a lot of hype and excitement in the air with the new Farmer's Market development set to be complete and the new monstrous video board above the offices in the north end zone. Add in the fact that the Gamecocks will likely be 1-0 and expectations will remain high. Let's cut straight to the point; Shaw, while not terrible, was not great in last year's meeting. The offense just didn't click against one of the worst defenses in the country. Garcia came in and ignited the comeback. But that was then. Shaw has won over the team and it is now his team. If Shaw can get off to a good start and connect on some passes, it will open up the offense for Marcus Lattimore and the other running backs. When the Gamecocks are clicking offensively, they are going to be tough to beat. With Dominique Davis now in Atlanta with the Falcons, there is no way the Pirates would be able to keep up with a Gamecock offense that is clicking. If Shaw is on, Carolina wins easily.

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