The South Carolina Gamecocks and Notre Dame Fighting Irish meet up in the Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Stadium on Friday, December 30 in Jacksonville, Florida. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET, and will air on ESPN.
South Carolina (8-4, 4-4 SEC) closed the season as one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Gamecocks mauled the Tennessee Volunteers, 63-38, eliminating the Volunteers from playoff contention and followed that with a 38-30 road win over the Clemson Tigers, also eliminating them from playoff contention.
It took a long time for highly-touted quarterback transfer Spencer Rattler to show some of the form he had that made him a Heisman hopeful in 2021, but the former Oklahoma Sooner finished with 2,780 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Gamecocks will be without leading rushing Mar’Shawn Lynch and talented offensive weapon Jaheim Bell, both of whom transferred. South Carolina will also be missing key pieces on its front seven.
Notre Dame (8-4) stumbled out the gate, but won eight of its final 10 games with one of the toughest schedules in the nation. The peak of the Fighting Irish season was a 35-14 win over the then-undefeated Clemson. Quarterback Drew Pyne entered the lineup in the third game and threw for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns. He decided to transfer to Arizona State after the regular season. Potential first-round pick Michael Mayer also opted out.
The Irish will have a stout running game lead by Audric Estime, Logan Diggs and Chris Tyree, who combined for nearly 2,000 yards between them.
Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Notre Dame -3.5
Moneyline: Notre Dame -140, South Carolina +120
Opening line: Notre Dame -2.5
Opening total: 51.5
Key players that have opted-out, injuries for Gator Bowl
MarShawn Lloyd, RB (Transfer portal)
Zacch Pickens, DT (Opt-out)
Jaheim Bell, TE (Transfer portal)
Gilbert Edmond, DE (Transfer portal)
RJ Roderick, DB (Transfer portal)
Austin Stogner, TE (Transfer portal)
Cam Smith, DB (Opt-out)
Isaiah Foskey, DE (Opt-out)
Michael Mayer, TE (Opt-out)
Drew Pyne, QB (Transfer portal)
Jayden Bellamy, DB (Transfer portal)
Jacob Lacey, DL (Transfer portal)
Partly to Mostly cloudy skies with a high of 73 and less than a 20 percent chance of rain. Winds with be out of the east and northeast at 10 MPH.
Notre Dame -3.5
This should one of the best non-playoff bowl games of the season. Both teams navigated through difficult schedules and played some of their best football in the second half of the year. Both teams will also be missing key players. Notre Dame’s defense and running game should be able to hold off Rattler and the Gamecocks.