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The Carowinds Guide to the Belk College Football Kickoff

Andrew Stilwell

Andrew Stilwell is a writer for Coaster101.com and was a member of the Carowinds “Caroblogger” Program from 2015-2017. You can follow him on twitter at @stilwell and Coaster101.com on twitter at @Coaster101.

For just one day this week, Carowinds won’t be the sole place “Where the Carolinas Come Together.” As the 2019-2020 college football season kicks off over Labor Day weekend, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the Belk College Kickoff Game, just up the road at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

While some people on social media have suggested that the winner of the game should receive sole possession of Carowinds, with the flagship universities in the state going head to head on the gridiron, I thought it would be fun to create a Carowinds Guide to The Belk College Kickoff to give fans a quick primer for the game on August 31.

I’ll be using Carowinds attractions located in South Carolina as comparisons to the Gamecocks, and attractions located in North Carolina as comparisons to the Tar Heels – that way everyone can follow along.

University Of South Carolina Gamecocks

Southern Star – Head Coach Will Muschamp

Over the course of his 20-year star-studded coaching career, Muschamp has been back-and-forth between many schools in the south, including head coaching stops at the University of Florida and University of South Carolina, and assistant coaching positions at LSU and Auburn.

Copperhead Strike – Senior QB Jake Bentley

Bentley is known for his quick strikes in the passing game, averaging 8.2 yards per completion in 2018, and much like Copperhead Strike’s two launches, he can get South Carolina into the end zone in two ways – with his arm (27 TDs in 2018) or his feet (2 TDs in 2018.)

Dodgems – Senior RB Rico Dowdle

Dowdle was the team leader in both rushing yards (654) and rushing touchdowns (4) for South Carolina in 2018. This in no doubt was due to his ability to “dodge” defenders and not take too many bumps on the field.

Afterburn - SR WR Brian Edwards

South Carolina’s leading returning wide receiver, Edwards was able to turn on the “Afterburners” on his longest reception of 2018, which went for 75 yards. His 7 touchdowns in 2018 were one more than total inversions on Afterburn: 6.

Intimidator – Senior LB TJ Brunson

Brunson is one of the most intimidating members of the South Carolina defense, making 106 tackles in 2018, including four sacks, both numbers good for most on the team. I wouldn’t want him chasing me!

Nighthawk – Junior LB – Sherrod Greene

Another anchor on the South Carolina defense is Linebacker Sherrod Greene, one of three “ball-hawking” defenders returning to South Carolina this season after recording an interception in 2018 and scoring the lone defensive touchdown of the 2018 campaign for the Gamecocks.

Kiddy Hawk – Sophomore DB Jaycee Horn

Though Horn did not record an interception in his freshman season, he had eight passes defended, and is an “up-and-coming” ball hawk in the South Carolina secondary. Not sure if his sophomore status is young enough to call him a “Kiddy,” but to play along, let’s pretend it does.

Windseeker – Junior K. Parker White

Mt. Pleasant, SC native Parker White was 13-16 on Field Goal attempts last season. He might need to seek a little wind on his longer kicks this season, because two of his three misses were from 40-yards or longer.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Grand Carousel – Head Coach Mack Brown

With more than 40 years of experience, both Mack Brown and the Grand Carousel are legends in their own right who have recently “come home” to a familiar location – Brown from ESPN back to Chapel Hill, and the Grand Carousel to its new home in front of Vortex.

Hurler – Freshman QB Sam Howell

Beginning his college career this season, Howell was known to “hurl” the pigskin as the four-year starter at Sun Valley High School in nearby Monroe, racking up 13,415 passing yards during his high school career.

Carolina Cyclone – Junior RB Michael Carter and Senior RB Antonio Williams

North Carolina’s “two-headed” running back attack of Carter and Williams combined for over 1,100 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns last season. Carolina Cyclone also has a “two-headed” attack for you, with the “double double” of vertical loop and corkscrew inversions.

Carolina Goldrusher – Sophomore RB Javonte Williams

While Carter and Williams put up good numbers, Carolina’s most “efficient” running back was Williams, who managed to share the team-high in rushing touchdowns while only amassing 224 yards on the season – truly making him UNC’s “Gold” Rusher.

Scrambler – Junior WR Dazz Newsome

Newsome does a bit of everything on the field for North Carolina as the team’s leading receiver, fifth leading rusher, and possessor of the highest quarterback rating on the team in 2018 (1-1, 43 Yards, QBR: 461.2) – though he might be best known as a Kick Returner for UNC, scrambling away from opposing defenses.

Drop Tower – Senior DB Miles Dorn

Though Dorn’s 6’2 stature wouldn’t quite constitute him being a “tower” in height, his tight defensive coverage (including sharing the team lead for interceptions in 2018) results in many drops for opposing receivers.

Fury 325  – Senior OL Charlie Heck

Heck anchors an offensive line whose job is to protect the UNC quarterback from “Fury-ous” rushes by opposing teams. Though Heck doesn’t quite tip the scale at 325, he’s quite close at 315. Heck could be in line for an award, named to the preseason 2019 Outland Trophy watch list, much like Fury’s annual appearance in the Golden Ticket Awards.

Flying Cobras – Sophomore PK Noah Ruggles

One thing UNC hopes not to be “Snake Bitten” by this year is their kicking game. Ruggles begins the season a career 2-2 on Extra Points, but he has not kicked a Field Goal yet in his collegiate career.

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Now that you’ve got your scouting report, who are you rooting for? Just remember, Carowinds is open from 10am-10pm on August 31 and is a short trip on I-77 from Bank of America Stadium, in case fans of either “Carolina” are looking for some pre-or-post-game fun!

Also, just a reminder that if you purchase a 2020 season pass, your admission for the remainder of 2019 will be included!

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Andrew Stilwell

Andrew Stilwell is a writer for Coaster101.com and was a member of the Carowinds “Caroblogger” Program from 2015-2017. You can follow him on twitter at @stilwell and Coaster101.com on twitter at @Coaster101.

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