Gamecocks beat Miami for fourth straight bowl win

SCBowlIt would come down to the very last minute of the game, but the South Carolina Gamecocks (7-6) secured their 11th-straight season with a record of .500 or better thanks to a 24-21 win over Miami (6-7) Saturday afternoon in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl. It’s Carolina’s fourth-straight bowl win in as many seasons, making it the only SEC team to do so.

A bend-but-don’t-break defense helped carry the Gamecocks through the early portion of the game while the offense was still finding its footing. Despite a pair of Miami drives that went deep into Carolina territory, the Hurricanes could only muster a pair of field goals after being stopped inside the ten yard line both times.

It took a big play halfway through the second quarter to shake the offense from its slow start. On second down at its own 22, Dylan Thompson hit a wide-open Pharoh Cooper on a post route down the middle for the 78-yard touchdown to move the Gamecocks ahead 7-6 with just under eight minutes to play in the first half. The yardage in just that one play matched the offense’s total gains for the entire game up until that point, and tied for the longest pass play in the bowl’s history.

The score broke the seal on the offense, which scored on the very next drive after the defense forced a three-and-out from Miami. Starting near midfield, Thompson spearheaded the scoring drive with a trio of difficult throws. After hooking up with Cooper for a 13-yard first down, he followed it up with a 35-yard strike to Damiere Byrd to get to the Hurricane five-yard line.

A penalty pushed the Gamecocks back to the 15-yard line before Thompson rolled to his left and threw across his body to Mike Davis in the back of the end zone for a 14-6 lead.

On the very next drive, a pass from Miami’s Brad Kaaya was tipped up in the air and intercepted by Jonathan Walton. The turnover would set up a 32-yard field goal from Elliott Fry and cap the team’s scoring for the half, a 17-6 lead.

After struggling to stop Miami’s nationally renowned rushing offense in the first quarter, the Gamecocks defense learned quickly and held the opposition to just 44 yards in the second quarter after allowing 160 in just the first two drives of the game.

The third quarter was largely controlled by Miami, who drew within a field goal of tying the game after an 11-play, 93-yard drive for a touchdown and a two-point conversion. The offensive momentum for Carolina would not carry over the break, as its first four drives of the second half would go for just 71 yards on 25 plays.

The Gamecocks continued to be stymied offensively early on in the fourth quarter, before another game-changing moment would provide the difference.

Carolina would punt the ball with seven minutes left in the game, still ahead 17-14. On the drive’s second play, Miami’s Duke Johnson rushed to the right and was swarmed immediately. Gerald Dixon would emerge from the pile with the ball, but the game officials ruled that he was already down before the ball came out. After it was reviewed, however, it was decided that it was a fumble.

On the ensuing possession, Thompson and Cooper would combine yet again for a big play, as the sophomore wide receiver went over the back of his defender on the under-thrown ball and hauled in the 25-yard strike to set up first-and-goal at the two yard line. On the very next play, Thompson would sell the read option fake and keep it for the touchdown, strikingly similar to his game-winner against Florida.

The two-score lead would come in handy, as Miami drove 72 yards in under two minutes for a touchdown to make it 24-21.

With 2:16 still to play and needing to run out the clock, the Gamecocks turned to Davis to seal the win. He converted a third-and-one that would be the clincher, as it forced the Hurricanes to use their final two timeouts. Thompson scrambled out the clock and the Gamecocks were able to celebrate.

In his final game in the Garnet and Black, Thompson would finish with 284 yards through the air on 22 completions and a pair of touchdowns to go with his rushing score. Thompson finishes the season with 3,574 passing yards, extending his single-season school record, and 26 passing touchdowns, the second most for a single-season in school history.

Cooper would bring in nine catches for 170 yards and earned offensive MVP honors for his efforts. Davis led the rushing attack with 55 yards on 13 carries. Skai Moore earned defensive MVP honors for his efforts, which included a team-leading 11 tackles.

Photo Courtesy of USC Athletics

Comments

comments

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th point

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th pointDemario Beck scored 12 points and had 15 rebounds in [more]

Girls Hoops: CF rips net, Braves in Sand & Hoops

Girls Hoops: CF rips net, Braves in Sand & HoopsThe girls high school basketball season is only beginning, yet [more]

Saints step up to capture Bulldog Shootout crown

Saints step up to capture Bulldog Shootout crownThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team not [more]

Hoops: CF, Socastee, SJ win tournament openers

Hoops: CF, Socastee, SJ win tournament openersThe Carolina Forest High girls basketball team needed a little [more]

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16Martin Melchor scored two goals and had an assist while [more]

Beach United teams close fall season in Wilmington

Beach United teams close fall season in WilmingtonThe Beach United Football Club saw eight teams close out [more]

CAC swimmers dominate podium at regional meet

CAC swimmers dominate podium at regional meetPalmetto Aquatics (PALM) hosted the 2017 Thanksgiving Invite Meet on [more]

Coastal repeats as SBC champ, awaits NCAA foe

Coastal repeats as SBC champ, awaits NCAA foeThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team defeated #2 Texas State in [more]

Local hoops season tips off with two girls tourneys

Local hoops season tips off with two girls tourneysWinter might still be a month away, but the high [more]

Gamecocks net fifth place in Puerto Rico Tip-Off

Gamecocks net fifth place in Puerto Rico Tip-OffSouth Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin claimed his 100th [more]

Cuthbertson's career-high 31 points lead Chants' win

Cuthbertson's career-high 31 points lead Chants' winZac Cuthbertson torched the nets for 31 points in leading [more]

Chants handle Vandals, score first Sun Belt win

Chants handle Vandals, score first Sun Belt winIdaho scored on the opening possession of the game but [more]

Saints open season with wins, reach tourney final

Saints open season with wins, reach tourney finalThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team opened [more]

CCU men fall to Vermont; Lady Chants blast UNCW

CCU men fall to Vermont; Lady Chants blast UNCWZac Cuthbertson scored a game-high 23 points and had another [more]

Lady Chants spike Wolves, reach Sun Belt title game

Lady Chants spike Wolves, reach Sun Belt title gameThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team is making its second straight [more]

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season North Myrtle Beach's record-setting season came to an end Friday [more]

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoops

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoopsFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina in the [more]

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in Conway

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in ConwaySouth Carolina's debut in the Puerto Rico Classic at the [more]

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teams

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teamsThe 2017 Beach Ball Classic announced its schedule for the [more]

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face Clemson

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face ClemsonFrantzdy Pierrot teamed up with Martin Melchor to give the [more]

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victory

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victoryThe Coastal Carolina football team (1-9, 0-6 Sun Belt) will [more]

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-Off

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-OffThe South Carolina men's basketball team has home court of [more]

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point losses

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point lossesJaylen Shaw scored 17 points, but it was not enough [more]

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seed

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seedThe Sun Belt Conference announced its final weekly volleyball awards [more]

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tilt

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tiltCoastal Carolina men's soccer team gathered in the athletics field [more]

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th point

Chants slam St. Andrews; Shaw tallies 1,000th pointDemario Beck scored 12 points and had 15 rebounds in [more]

Girls Hoops: CF rips net, Braves in Sand & Hoops

Girls Hoops: CF rips net, Braves in Sand & HoopsThe girls high school basketball season is only beginning, yet [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach