Georgia State (0-0) at South Carolina (0-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
Line: South Carolina 12 1/2 points, according to FanDuel sports betting.
Series Notes: First Encounter.
What is dangerous?
Considering South Carolina dives into the choppy waters of the Southeastern Conference when it takes on No. 19 Arkansas and hosts the defending national champion No. 3 Georgia for the next two weeks, it needs a winning start. The Panthers won a record eight games last year and are looking to win the opener at SEC Stadium for the second time in four seasons after beating Tennessee 38-30 in 2019.
Georgia State game against the South Carolina defense. The Panthers finished eighth in the nation in rushing yards per game last year and second in the Sun Belt Conference with 226.4 yards per game. Jamyest Williams, who started his college career as a defensive back for the Gamecocks, averaged 6.7 yards per attempt last fall, proving opponents at Georgia State are tough to slow down. South Carolina appears to have a solid defensive line anchored by Jordan Birch and tackle Zach Pickens. If they can lock down Williams and the Panthers, it could be a long night for Georgia State.
Players to watch
Georgia State: QB Darren Grainger left Furman ahead of the 2021 season to lead the Panthers to an 8-3 record. Grainger, of Conway, SC, not far from Myrtle Beach, threw for 1,715 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. He rushed for 660 yards, the most of any quarterback in the Suns belt last season.
South Carolina: QB Spencer Rattler has been thrilling Gamecock fans all offseason. The former Oklahoma Heisman Trophy prospect announced his move to South Carolina last December and made his first start at his new SEC home. Rattler passed for 4,514 yards, 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Facts and figures
Georgia State is enjoying its second straight season against a top-five opponent. The Panthers fell to Auburn and North Carolina last year. After South Carolina, they will face the tar heels next week. … The Gamecocks are looking for quarterback stability after needing four starters a year ago due to injuries and transfers. … Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott grew up about a 30-minute drive from campus in Camden, South Carolina. … Elliott of Georgia State University worked in South Carolina from 2010 to 2015. He was the offensive line coach for most of Steve Spurrier’s time, although Elliott took over as coach. interim head coach seven years ago after Spurrier’s abrupt departure mid-season.