QB Bentley leads South Carolina vs. Virginia in Belk Bowl

Belk Bowl: South Carolina (7-5) vs. Virginia (7-5) at Charlotte, North Carolina, Saturday, noon EST (ABC)

Line: South Carolina by 5

Series Record: South Carolina leads 20-13-1

WHAT’S AT STAKE

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The Gamecocks make their third straight bowl game appearance. They beat Michigan 26-19 in the Outback Bowl last season. The Cavaliers look to avenge last year’s 49-7 loss to Navy in the Military Bowl.

KEY MATCHUP

South Carolina QB Jake Bentley is closing in on 3,000 yards passing — with 510 of those coming against No. 2 Clemson. He threw for 27 TDs this season with 12 interceptions. He faces a Virginia defense that ranks 14th in the nation against the pass and is allowing less than 22 points per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

South Carolina: WR Bryan Edwards. With WR Deebo Samuel sitting out the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft, the Gamecocks are expected to lean on Edwards. He had three 100-yard receiving games and is second on the team with 52 receptions for 809 yards and seven TDs.

Virginia: QB Bryce Perkins. The Arizona Western Community College transfer has been a pleasant surprise, setting a school record for total offense with 3,314 yards. He threw for 2,472 yards with 22 touchdowns and ran for 842 yards and nine scores.

FACTS & FIGURES

Teams were once in same conference in Atlantic Coast Conference, but haven’t played since 2003 …. Gamecocks eclipsed 500 yards of offense in five games this season. … South Carolina QB Jake Bentley has 16 TDs passing and four interceptions in last five games. … Bentley has nine completions of 50-plus yards in last six games. … RB Jordan Ellis led Gamecocks in rushing with 931 yards with nine TDs. … Gamecocks offensive line allowed 20 sacks in 2018, fewest since 2003. … South Carolina has only six interceptions, three by CB Rashad Fenton. …… Virginia played in first two Belk Bowls (2002 and 2003) and won both. … Virginia QB Bryce Perkins’ brother Paul Perkins plays RB for NFL’s New York Giants. … RB Jordan Ellis needs 80 yards rushing to become 15th Virginia player to reach 1,000 yards in a season. … HB Olamide Zaccheaus needs five receptions to break own single-season school record of 85. … Virginia DE Bryce Hall leads the nation with 20 pass breakups.

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