Published: Sun, December 30, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

How To Watch The Belk Bowl 2018: SC vs Virginia

How To Watch The Belk Bowl 2018: SC vs Virginia

Virginia's Olamide Zaccheaus (4) celebrates his touchdown catch against SC with R.J. Proctor (78) during the first half of the Belk Bowl NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018.

It was Coach Bronco Mendenhall's first win in a bowl game, and the Cavaliers' first win in a bowl game since 2005.

Bryce Perkins, who all week the Gamecock mentioned as a threat to hurt them in both the passing and run games, had 289 all-purpose yards and threw for three touchdowns. The Gamecocks are 7-5 after beating Akron 28-3 last week.

What could have been a momentum-shifter for the Gamecocks was made meaningless just three plays later as Bentley was picked off by Juan Thornhill, who returned the interception 54 yards to the SC 21. Those figures come on the heels of 85 catches for 895 yards and five scores last fall. They shut out an FBS opponent for the first time since their 31-0 takedown of Maryland in 2008. Virginia ranks 29th in time of possession, averaging 31:43 in terms of keeping the ball per game. Ellis also scored on a nine-yard rushing touchdown.

There is a huge advantage for SC in this game. Jordan Ellis led UVA on the ground with 106 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. HB Olamide Zaccheaus needs five receptions to break own single-season school record of 85. SC was 2 of 13 on third down conversions and 2 of 5 on fourth downs. If you are playing DFS this Saturday, read Hayden Winks' breakdown (linked below) with a deeper dive on South Carolina's offense. U.Va. cornerback Bryce Hall leads the nation in pass breakups and helped the secondary give up the second fewest passing yards per game (180.1) and third fewest TD passes (12) in the ACC.

Virginia has produced the game MVP in each appearance (2002, 2003 and 2018), and senior Olamide Zaccheaus became their second running back to earn the award.

The Cavaliers started with the ball after halftime but couldn't get anything going until their second drive of the half.

South Carolina's highly-touted offense finally came alive late in the third quarter with a 23-yard and 37-yard pass from Bentley. He gets out of trouble and can throw the ball down the field.

"It wasn't just going, it was winning", Mendenhall said. SC has only six interceptions, three by CB Rashad Fenton.

First-year coordinator Bryan McClendon, teaming with quarterback Jake Bentley, found a groove for the better part of the last month of the regular season. After losing handily to the Bulldogs in Week 2, the season settled into a much more familiar rhythm with wins against Vanderbilt, Missouri and Tennessee and losses against every top 25 team on the schedule. Vann won't be the starting outside receiver with Shi Smith sliding outside, but Vann is expected to see more than his typical 2-3 targets per game.

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