North Carolina (6-6, 3-5 ACC) and South Carolina (6-6, 3-5 SEC) will meet on the football field for the 59th time in the 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 30 in Charlotte, N.C. The first meeting dates back to 1908, however, this will only be the fifth head-to-head meeting since 1991. Once conference rivals in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the two schools met at least twice every decade from 1900-1980. While members of the ACC (South Carolina left in 1971), the two schools played every year from 1953-70 with the exception of 1965 and 1966. In those 16 meetings as ACC opponents, North Carolina won nine times. The rivalry will continue in 2023 in Charlotte on opening weekend from Bank of America Stadium. A home-and-home series is scheduled in Columbia in 2028 and in Chapel Hill in 2029.
- North Carolina ranks third in the ACC with 479.6 yards of total offense per game. The Tar Heels exceeded 500 yards of offense five times this season and posted more than 600 yards in back-to-back games against Georgia State (607) and a season-high 699 yards against Virginia. The Tar Heels also produced 564 yards at #11 Notre Dame, a season high on the road in 2021.
- Carolina leads the ACC with 219.7 rushing yards per game. The Tar Heels last led the
league in rushing back in 1994 behind the duo of Curtis Johnson and Leon Johnson.
- Carolina and Louisville are the only two ACC teams to average 200 or more yards through the air and on the ground.
- Carolina is fourth in the ACC by converting 45.5 percent (70 of 154) of its third-down opportunities.
- North Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio State are the only four Power 5 programs to have a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver in 2021.
- UNC is enjoying a +31 (115-84) scoring margin in the fourth quarter this season.
- Carolina leads the ACC with seven plays of 60 or more yards, 21 plays of 40+ yards and 12
plays of 50+ yards. Running back Ty Chandler has five plays this fall of 50 or more yards, tied for the seventh most in the country.
- Carolina has 14 takeaways on defense this season after coming up with 11 turnovers in
2020. UNC is tied for fifth in the ACC with 11 interceptions. Cam’Ron Kelly is tied for the ACC lead with four interceptions, while Ja’Qurious Conley and Cedric Gray each have a pair of interceptions.
- Sam Howell joined a group of only four FBS quarterbacks to ever have back-to-back games
with 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards. Howell has thrown for 2,851 yards, 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 825 yards and 11 touchdowns.
- Sophomore Josh Downs has set UNC records with 98 receptions and 1,273 receiving yards this season. Downs is two catches shy of becoming the fourth player in ACC history to notch 100 receptions in a single season.
- Grad transfer running back Ty Chandler earned All-ACC second-team honors in 2021 by rushing for a team-high 1,063 yards. He ranks third in the ACC with 88.6 rushing yards per
game and 13 rushing touchdowns.
- Tomon Fox was credited with a half sack against Virginia Tech that moved him past Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor on the program’s all-time sack list. Fox leads UNC with 7.5 sacks in 2021 and is currently third in school history with 28.5 career sacks and seventh with 41.0 career tackles for loss.
- Sophomore linebacker Kaimon Rucker is tied for second on the team with 4.0 sacks and third with 5.5 tackles for loss. His best game of the season came against Virginia with two sacks, a forced fumble and five total tackles.
- The Gamecocks secured their sixth win of the season against Auburn, positioning themselves for their first bowl appearance since the 2018 season and their 24th overall.
- The Gamecocks had an up-and-down campaign in Shane Beamer’s first year as the head coach. However, coming off a 2-8 season and with Vegas predicting just 3.5 wins, Coach
Beamer’s squad exceeded nearly everyone’s expectations.
- The Gamecocks came from behind to win five games this season. Twice they rallied back from 14-0 deficits to beat East Carolina, 20-17, and Auburn, 21-17. The two 14-point come-from-behind wins ties for the seventh-best comeback wins in school history. It’s the first time they’ve come back from two touchdown deficits to claim victory twice in the same season.
- Carolina has outscored its opponents by a 74-43 margin in the final period, and rallied late to defeat both East Carolina and Vanderbilt in the game’s final minute.
- The Gamecocks have forced a turnover in 11 of 12 games and two or more turnovers in eight of their 12 contests, including a season-high four against Troy and three each against Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri. For the season, South Carolina has forced 24 turnovers – 15 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries, ranking first in the SEC and tied with Baylor for 12th in the NCAA in turnovers gained. The 15 interceptions have the Gamecocks tied for first in the SEC and tied for 10th in the country.
- The Gamecock defense has scored four times this season, three on pick-sixes and one scoop-and-score.
- The Carolina pass defense was solid all season. In addition to the 15 interceptions, the Gamecocks surrendered an average of just 178.8 yards through the air, ranking second in the SEC and ninth in the country. The Gamecocks rank 28th in the country in pass efficiency defense.
- The Gamecocks have had 39 players make starts this season. Nine have started all 12 games, including Eric Douglas, Jovaughn Gwyn, and Nick Muse on offense, and Jabari Ellis, Kingsley Enagbare, Jaylan Foster, Brad Johnson, Zacch Pickens and Aaron Sterling on defense.
- The Gamecocks are the only FBS team in the country that can boast three starting quarterbacks with two wins under their belts this season. Luke Doty (2-2), Zeb Noland (2-2) and Jason Brown (2-2) each have two wins as a starter.
- With Kevin Harris, MarShawn Lloyd, Juju McDowell and ZaQuandre White the Gamecocks have four viable options to carry the pigskin. All have had their opportunities this season, with the carries ranging from a team-high 121 for Harris to 88 for White, 64 for Lloyd and 47 for McDowell. White has started six times this season while Harris has five starts and McDowell has two. White has led the team in rushing in six games, while Harris has led in four and McDowell in one. Note: White has elected to forego the bowl game in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.
- Carolina has had eight different starters and six different starting offensive lines this season. The left side of the line has been more in flux with Jazston Turnetine (7 starts), Jakai Moore (3 starts) and Jaylen Nichols (2 starts) sharing duties at left tackle, while Vershon Lee (8 starts) and Nichols (4 starts) and have split the reps at left guard. The right side has been more stable with center Eric Douglas and right guard Jovaughn Gwyn both starting every game, while right tackle Dylan Wonnum started the first six contests before being sidelined with a back injury, giving way to Tyshawn Wannamaker (6 starts).
UNC vs USC
UNC vs. USC: NC leads 35-19-4
Series Streak: NC won last game
Last Meeting: 2019 Tar Heels defeated Gamecocks, 24-20
- Carolina, who is making its 36th postseason bowl appearance, owns a 15-20 all-time record in bowl games.
- The Tar Heels are playing in a bowl game for the third year in a row. Last season, Carolina fell 41-27 to Texas A&M in the Orange Bowl. In 2019, UNC defeated Temple, 55-13, at the Military Bowl.
- UNC is 1-3 in four previous bowl games played in Charlotte, N.C. UNC lost to Boston College, 37-24, in 2004, lost to West Virginia, 31-30, in 2008, lost to Pittsburgh, 19-17, in 2009 and defeated Cincinnati, 39-17, in 2013.
- The Gamecocks last bowl appearance was played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in the 2018 Belk Bowl. Virginia got the better of it on that Dec. 29 afternoon, defeating the Gamecocks by a 28-0 score.
- The Gamecocks are 9-14 all-time in bowl games, but have won nine of their last 15 after dropping their first eight bowl contests. Shane Beamer is the third-straight Gamecock head coach to take the team to a bowl game in his first season.
- Mack Brown owns a 15-9 record in bowl games, including guiding the Tar Heels to six-straight appearances from 1992-97 and in 2019 and 2020. Brown is 4-3 in bowl games he coached at UNC, winning the 1993 Peach Bowl over Mississippi State, 21-17, the 1995 Carquest Bowl over Arkansas, 20-10, the 1997 Gator Bowl over West Virginia, 20-13 and the 2019 Military Bowl over Temple, 55-13. He left for Texas before the 1998 Gator Bowl.
- This will mark South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer’s first meeting against the Tar Heels as a head coach.
How to Watch
Kickoff: 11:30 a.m. ET
ESPN: Anish Shroff, play-by-play; Mike Golic Jr., analyst; Taylor McGregor, sideline
Stream: Watch ESPN
Tar Heel Sports Network: Jones Angell, play-by-play; Brian Simmons, analyst; Lee Pace, sideline
Bowl Season Radio: Brian Estridge, play-by-play; John Denton, analyst; Molly Cotten, sideline
Satellite Radio: Sirius (137), XM (202), App (965)