Gamecocks fly friendly skies in Garnet & Black Game

The Black team scored on the first play from scrimmage and never looked back, as they outscored the Garnet team, 38-24, in the Annual Garnet & Black Spring Game, held in front of 34,513 fans on a perfect Saturday afternoon in Columbia.

On the game’s first play, Black quarterback Connor Shaw found wide receiver Damiere Byrd behind the Garnet secondary and hit him in stride for a 70-yard touchdown strike.

After the Garnet responded with a 36-yard field goal from Adam Yates, Shaw hit walk-on receiver Riley Gallaher for a 39-yard score on the first play of the second quarter in the spring game’s traditional “receiver off the sidelines” play to put the Black up 14-3. Shaw finished the day 6-for-7 for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

The Garnet, led by Dylan Thompson, came back with a touchdown midway through the second period. Thompson hit four consecutive passes to open the drive and capped the 70-yard excursion with a one-yard touchdown run to cut the Black lead to 14-10. Thompson, who solidified his status as the team’s number two signal-caller heading into the summer, was an impressive 15-for-20 on the afternoon for 168 yards.

The Black squad put the game away when they scored three times over the final 3:30 of the second quarter to open up a 35-10 halftime advantage. Redshirt freshman Tanner McEvoy took over the quarterback reigns for the Black squad and hooked up with Drew Owens on a 12-yard slant route for a score, then, in the final minute of the period, connected with D.L. Moore, who burned the Garnet secondary for a 63-yard scoring bomb. On the final play of the half, redshirt freshman safety Sheldon Royster intercepted a Seth Strickland pass and returned it 50 yards for another Black touchdown. McEvoy had his best scrimmage performance as a Gamecock, completing 8-of-12 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

The Garnet team tried to rally in the second half, but with a running clock, possessions were limited. Thompson hit Nick Jones on a 22-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter and Andrew Clifford connected with Corey Simmons on a 15-yard pass halfway through the fourth period to cut the deficit to 35-24. With the game clock expiring, Adam Yates boomed a 51-yard field goal for the game’s final score.

Overall, the six quarterbacks who saw action combined to complete 39-of-54 passes for 511 yards and 6 touchdowns with two interceptions.

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