The South Carolina Gamecocks, still feeling the sting from their season opening loss to UNC last week, opened their home season on Saturday, at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC vs. Charleston Southern University.
The Gamecocks were heavily favored to win this game going in, as they were last week. However, they’ve already experienced the harsh realities of the upsets in College Football –– so nothing is a guarantee.
South Carolina started the game with possession of the ball. In the opening drive, true freshman Ryan Hilinski, in his first collegiate start, threw five out of five completions for 35 yards, and Rico Dowdle rushed 3 yards for the first touchdown of the game. After a completed kick for the extra point, the Gamecocks were on the board first 7-0, with slightly over 11 minutes left in the first quarter.
Charleston Southern was unable to match South Carolina’s points in their first possession, and in the Gamecock’s second possession of the game, Hilinski completed four out of four passes and rushed four yards for another Gamecock touchdown.
The Buccaneers put their first points on the board with a 41-yard field goal kick by Miller Braddock with 2:47 left on the clock.
In the final South Carolina possession of the first quarter, Dakereon Joyner took to the field at the quarterback position, after already putting in time as a wide receiver in the game. Joyner rushed for 41 yards, including six of them for the last score of the first quarter.
The Gamecocks were staked to a commanding 21-3 lead after just one quarter of action.
They would not stop there. South Carolina scored the first points of the second quarter when Hilinski threw his first passing touchdown for 10 yards to Bryan Edwards. Edwards, the senior wide receiver, has had at least one reception in the last 40 South Carolina games. Parker White kicked the extra point and with 12:13 left in the first half, USC had the lead 28-3.
Just over two minutes later, Hilinski threw a 50-yard pass to Edwards for another Carolina touchdown. Thus making the score 35-3. The next score came following an interception by R.J. Roderick, and Parker White ended the possession with a field goal, Gamecocks up 38-3.
The Gamecocks were then able to intercept the ball again, this time the credit going to Israel Mukuamu, which also led to the sixth touchdown of the first half, scored by Rico Dowdle with a four-yard rush.
Will Tommie, the senior kicker missed his first extra point attempt, and the score at the end of the first half was 44-3 South Carolina.
Notable highlights from the first half included Ryan Hilinski’s 22 of 27 for 259 yards, and two touchdowns. Dowdle recorded 87 yards, and two touchdowns and Edwards had five receptions, 112 yards, and two touchdowns as well.
The third quarter opened with Charleston Southern possession, and they were finally able to make their first third-down conversion in this possession; however the ball would be intercepted for a third time on the very next play –– this time by John Dixon. This possession led to a touchdown call for Nick Muse, a Williams Mary transfer who was just cleared to play by the NCAA to play for the Gamecocks on Friday, but this call was overturned, and play resumed at the one-yard line.
Kevin Harris carried it in for the first touchdown of the third quarter, and the Gamecocks remained comfortably on top, 51-3. Hilinski threw one interception in his first game, with a little over nine minutes on the clock, but the Buccaneers were unable to convert the interception into any points on the board, so the score remained unchanged at the end of the third quarter.
The final quarter of the game started with a 57-yard touchdown run by Gamecock senior running back, Mon Denson, and Tommie made the extra point for a 58-3 lead with 14:34 left on the clock. South Carolina scored again five minutes later when Kevin Harris rushed 45 yards for another touchdown, bringing the lead to 65-3. Charleston Southern pulled Chambers, and Ross Malmgren finished out the game for the Buccaneers, while Dakereon Joyner finished out in the signal caller spot for the Gamecocks. With just over three minutes left in the game, Charleston Southern scored their first touchdown of the game when Jaquan Williams caught a three-yard pass.
Braddock kicked for the extra point, and for the first time since early in the first quarter, the Buccaneers score changed, 65-10. South Carolina scored in the next possession when Kevin Harris ran 75 yards for the six points, and Tommie again successfully kicked for the extra point, 72-10. The score would remain unchanged for the rest of the quarter, and the Gamecocks pulled off a resounding victory over the visiting team from 90 miles to the South,
Several University of South Carolina records were made during Saturday’s game, including the school record for most points scored in the first half. The offensive line also broke a school record with 775 total yards and broke the record for rushing yards as well with 493 yards recorded in Saturday’s game. After the upset last week losing to North Carolina, South Carolina played a well-executed game of football, and came out on top with a solid win. Next up for South Carolina is the Alabama Crimson Tide when they come to visit Williams Brice next Saturday afternoon, Sept. 14, at 3:30 pm ET on CBS.