Gamecocks release 2021 football schedule

Gamecocks release 2021 football schedule
South Carolina head football coach Shane Beamer (Source: South Carolina Athletics)

COLUMBIA, SC - The University of South Carolina’s 2021 football schedule was announced today. It will mark the inaugural season of head coach Shane Beamer’s tenure at South Carolina. Once again, the schedule features seven home games, including visits by Florida, Auburn and Clemson during the month of November.

South Carolina will open its 2021 season at home in a non-conference game against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 4. This will be the first meeting on the gridiron between the Gamecocks and Panthers. Eastern Illinois competes at the FCS level and is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. They did not play in the fall of 2020, but have a seven-game spring schedule on tap.

The 2021 road opener is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, when the Gamecocks travel to Greenville, N.C. for a date with the East Carolina Pirates. The Gamecocks hold a 14-5 lead in the all-time series between the two schools, including wins in all four games played in this century. This will mark the Gamecocks’ first trip to Greenville since 1997. Carolina is 2-1 when playing at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville.

South Carolina’s SEC opener is set for Saturday, Sept. 18, when the Gamecocks travel to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia leads the all-time series between these bordering state flagship universities by a 52-19-2 margin, including a 29-9 lead when playing in Athens, but the Gamecocks won in overtime on their last trip to Sanford Stadium in 2019 by a 20-17 score.

The Gamecocks’ SEC home opener is slated for Sept. 25, the final Saturday of the month, against the Kentucky Wildcats. Carolina holds an 18-13-1 advantage in the all-time series, including a 9-5-1 lead when the game in played in Columbia. Kentucky has held the upper hand recently, winning six of the last seven meetings between these two Eastern Division rivals, following a stretch in which the Gamecocks won 13 of 14 decisions between 2000 and 2013.

The Gamecocks step out of conference on Saturday, Oct. 2, when they host the Troy Trojans out of the Sun Belt Conference. The teams have met three times previously, with Carolina winning all three contests, including a 69-24 win in 2010, the last time the two squads met on the gridiron.

Carolina returns to conference action the following week with a Saturday, Oct. 9, date with the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville. The Vols have won the last two meetings after the Gamecocks had won three-straight from 2016-18. Tennessee leads the all-time series by a 27-10-2 margin, including a 17-3 advantage in Knoxville.

South Carolina will host the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday, Oct. 16. The Gamecocks have completely dominated the all-time series with Vandy, holding a 26-4 advantage, including wins in each of the last 12 games, with the ‘Dores last win coming in 2008. Carolina holds a 12-2 lead in the series when the game has been played in Williams-Brice Stadium.

Carolina is on the road again the following week, traveling to College Station, Texas for a Saturday, Oct. 23, showdown with the Texas A&M Aggies. The Gamecocks will be looking for their first win in the annual interdivisional series with the Aggies, having dropped all seven of the previous encounters, with the winner securing the Bonham Trophy.

After the lone open date (Saturday, Oct. 30) of the 2021 schedule, the Gamecocks will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 6, when they host the defending SEC Eastern Division champion Florida Gators. Florida leads the all-time series by a 29-9-3 count, with the Gamecocks’ last win coming in 2017. Florida holds a 12-7-1 advantage when the game has been played in Columbia.

The Gamecocks final road trip of the 2021 season will come on Saturday, Nov. 13, when they travel to Columbia, Mo. to face the Missouri Tigers in the annual battle for the Mayor’s Cup. The Tigers won last year in Williams-Brice Stadium to take a slim 6-5 lead in the all-time series. The teams have split the four previous games at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field evenly.

The SEC slate wraps up on Saturday, Nov. 20, when the Gamecocks host the Auburn Tigers for the second-straight year. The Gamecocks posted a 30-22 win over the 15th-ranked Tigers in the 2020 season, Carolina’s first win over Auburn since 1933. Auburn leads the all-time series 10-2-1, including a 3-1 mark when playing in Columbia.

The 2021 regular season comes to a close on Saturday, Nov. 27, when the Palmetto state rivalry is renewed with the Clemson Tigers. The teams have met 117 times previously, meeting every year from 1909-2019 but, due to COVID-19, were unable to play in the annual battle for the state’s bragging rights in 2020.

All 12 games will be televised, with the network and kick times announced at a later date.

2021 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Sept. 4 EASTERN ILLINOIS

Sept. 11 at East Carolina

Sept. 18 at Georgia

Sept. 25 KENTUCKY

Oct. 2 TROY

Oct. 9 at Tennessee

Oct. 16 VANDERBILT

Oct. 23 at Texas A&M

Oct. 30 OPEN DATE

Nov. 6 FLORIDA

Nov. 13 at Missouri

Nov. 20 AUBURN

Nov. 27 CLEMSON