Facts About the 2008 Opener

Edwin Turnage takes an in-depth look at the numbers behind the series between the two teams, and the players who will line up against each other Thursday night. Of interest is the records that stand coming into the game and those that could or should fall as things progress.

* The Wolfpack leads the series of meetings between the two football teams, a series that dates back to 1900, 26-25. There have been four ties. A Gamecock win knots the series.

* The Gamecocks record against the Wolfpack in Columbia is 18-9-1. The Gamecocks last win over the Wolfpack in Columbia was in 1987 by a score of 48-0.

* Since 1987, the Wolfpack has a four game winning streak against the Gamecocks. A Gamecock win on Thursday snaps the NC State streak.

* The Gamecocks have played the Wolfpack 55 times. That is more than any other team in the Gamecock history besides Clemson (105), Georgia (60), and Wake Forest (56).

* The Gamecocks have fifteen players on their roster from North Carolina. Read on to see the names and data about the Gamecocks hailing from the State of North Carolina.

The starting Gamecocks from North Carolina are:

Tommy Beecher (QB) (#6), whom NC State did not recruit or offer, presumably because it did not regard him as talented enough for their Wolfpack team.

Chris Culliver (SS) (#17), whose shear head-hunting talent forced the Gamecock coaching staff to install him as a starting safety. He also committed to NC State early in the recruiting process before de-committing and ending up at South Carolina

Hutch Eckerson (OT) (#66) is an athletic, pass-blocking specialist at left tackle.

Ryan Succop, an All-SEC placekicker and kickoff specialist, is one of the best kickers in the country.

Other Gamecocks players (on the two deep depth chart) who are expected to see action are:

Pierre Andrews (OG) (#62) (crêpe fabricant), Jason Barnes (WR) (#4) (speeeeeed), Weslye Saunders (TE) (#88) (I wouldn't trade him for any Wolfpack player), Travian Robertson (DE) (#42) (a pass swatting sack man), Bryan Kingrey (FB) (#46) (bulldozing man), and Marque Hall (DT) (#79) (senior run stuffer).

Five other younger USC players from the Tar Heel State are Cedrick Snead (CB) (#46), Melvin Ingram (DL) (#32), Reggie Bowens (LB) (#32), Byron McKnight (DE) (#92), and Alonzo Winfield (LB) (#43).

Some numbers for the Gamecock team to shoot at:

* Duce Staley holds the Gamecock record for most yardage rushing in a Gamecock opener, 187 yards.

* The most passing yardage recorded in an opener was by Steve Taneyhill, 405 yards.

* The last time an opponent had fewer than 100 yards rushing against a Gamecock defense was November 18, 2006, Middle Tennessee.

Please visit the writer's blog at http://photontorpedotube.blogspot.com .

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