COLUMBIA, S.C. - Quick offensive strikes from Connor Shaw and Mike Davis helped No. 6/7 South Carolina (1-0) dispatch of North Carolina (0-1) 27-10 in the college football season opener at Williams-Brice Stadium.
On the third play from scrimmage, the senior quarterback Shaw found sophomore wide receiver Shaq Roland over the middle for a 65-yard touchdown strike, putting the Gamecocks in the lead 7-0. The 82-yard drive marked the quickest score for South Carolina in a season in the SEC era (since 1992). Shaw ended the contest going 11-for-20 for 149 yards and the one TD pass while adding 43 yards on the ground.
Davis, the sophomore running back who won the starting job in fall camp, capped South Carolina's scoring with his third-quarter, 75-yard run over the right side to make it 27-10. Davis ended the day with a career-high 115 yards on 12 carries.
South Carolina held a 17-0 lead before the first quarter ended, with freshman Elliott Fry's first collegiate field goal, a 39-yarder, making it 10-0. Junior quarterback Dylan Thompson, on his first play of the game, made it 17-0 with a 29-yard touchdown throw to sophomore wide receiver Kane Whitehurst.
In the second quarter, North Carolina got on the board on Bryn Renner's four-yard pass to Quinshad Davis, but Fry's second field goal, this one from 26 yards, handed South Carolina a 20-7 lead that stood at the half. The Gamecocks doubled the Tar Heels in first downs in the first half, 12-6, and tallied more yards, 260-121. Seventy of UNC's yards came on its scoring drive.
The Tar Heels opened the second half with a 17-play, 67-yard drive capped by a Thomas Moore 20-yard field goal before Davis' 75-yard dash.
The game was halted at 8:46 p.m. due to lightning in the area, delaying the game for 1:44. After the break, North Carolina threatened to score with two minutes to go, but a dive toward the end zone by Renner fell a yard short on fourth-and-goal, turning the ball back over downs to the Gamecocks with 58 seconds remaining.
Sophomore running back Brandon Wilds ran for 64 yards on 12 carries, while junior Nick Jones and Roland both matched career bests in receptions with four and two, respectively. Four Gamecock defenders (Sharrod Golightly, T.J. Gurley, Chaz Sutton & Ahmad Christian) matched or bettered their previous career high in tackles, and sophomore Gerald Dixon Jr. posted his first career tackle and quarterback hurry.
The Gamecocks open SEC play on Sat., Sept. 7 at Georgia, with the 4:30 p.m. EDT contest from Sanford Stadium being televised on ESPN.