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      Battle of the Carolinas: USC vs. UNC preview

      COLUMBIA (WACH)- Steve Spurrier never takes an underdog lightly. The Gamecocks kick off the 2013 season Thursday night when they welcome the North Carolina Tar Heels to Williams-Brice Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. and will air on ESPN.

      The head ball coach not shying away from giving the opposition plenty of credit.

      "Our team and coaches better know we've got to do our part because this is a good team coming in here," Spurrier said at his press conference Sunday.

      Spurrier remains committed to Connor Shaw starting at quarterback for the Gamecocks, but was uncertain to if and when backup Dylan Thompson would see the field.

      "It worked out perfectly the way they both played in the Outback Bowl," Spurrier said. "We don't want it to work out like that throughout the year, though."

      Protecting the quarterbacks have been an issue during preseason camp. Much of that due to All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

      "We've been very good when Clowney's not in there," Spurrier said. "We messed up and called a few passes when he was in there and he messed up the protection a little bit."

      As far as injuries go, Spurrier said Bruce Ellington is back at practice, but is doubtful that tight end Rory Anderson and linebacker Cedric Cooper will play Thursday night.

      The Tar Heels hold the edge in the all-time series between the two Carolina's at 34-17-4. The Gamecocks won the last meeting 21-15 at Chapel Hill in 2007.

      USC will be back on the practice field Sunday afternoon.