Home Sports Notre Dame will play South Carolina in the Gator Bowl in a battle of bounce-back teams

Notre Dame will play South Carolina in the Gator Bowl in a battle of bounce-back teams

by staff

A pair of bounce-back teams will meet when No. 21 Notre Dame plays No. 19 South Carolina in the Gator Bowl on Dec. 30 in Jacksonville, Fla. (2:30 p.m., ABC-7).

There were points earlier in the season when neither program was projected for the postseason. The Irish started 3-3 with home losses to Marshall and Stanford. The Gamecocks were 1-2 after blowout defeats to Arkansas and Georgia.


But both teams rallied down the stretch. Notre Dame (8-4) won five of its last six, while South Carolina (8-4) won three of its last four — including stunning upsets of top-10 opponents Tennessee and rival Clemson.

South Carolina: Wide receiver Antwane “Juice” Wells Jr., 63 catches, 898 yards, six touchdowns. He had 20 receptions for 308 yards and two touchdowns combined in the Gamecocks’ wins over No. 6 Tennessee and No. 7 Clemson to close the season.


Notre Dame: Tight end Michael Mayer, 67 catches, 809 yards, nine touchdowns. He totaled 21 catches for 280 yards and a touchdown during the Irish’s five-game winning streak in the second half of the season.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks could be the hottest team heading into bowl season after knocking Tennessee and Clemson out of College Football Playoff contention with wins in the final two weeks of the regular season. Quarterback Spencer Rattler has said he expects to play in the bowl game.

Notre Dame: Irish quarterback Drew Pyne announced after the final week of the season that he would enter the transfer portal and skip the bowl game. Pyne took over after Notre Dame’s 0-2 start to win eight of 10 games, including a 35-14 win over then-No. 5 Clemson on Nov. 5.

South Carolina 36, Notre Dame 32, Oct. 20, 1984.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks are 10-14 in bowls, including 0-3 in three previous Gator Bowls.

Notre Dame: The Irish reached their sixth straight bowl game and 11th in 12 seasons. Notre Dame is 19-21 all time in the postseason, including 1-2 in the Gator Bowl.

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