Gamecocks get strong start from Thompson, rout ECU

No Connor Shaw, no problem for South Carolina.

Backup quarterback Dylan Thompson passed for 330 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start and Marcus Lattimore tied a school record with the 33rd touchdown of his career, as the ninth-ranked Gamecocks routed visiting East Carolina, 48-10.

The Gamecocks forced five turnovers  – all in a stretch of 16 offensive plays for East Carolina spanning the end of the second quarter and the start of the third – and kept the Pirates off the board until Warren Harvey’s 23-yard field goal with 1:44 left in the third.

Third-string quarterback Seth Strickland and receiver Ace Sanders also threw touchdown passes for South Carolina, which rolled up 304 total yards in the first half alone – 32 more yards than it had in the opener against Vanderbilt – and finished with 528. D.L. Moore and Rory Anderson each caught two touchdowns for the Gamecocks.

Thompson got the start in place of Shaw, who has an injured shoulder, and quickly put any concerns to rest. After two incompletions to start the game, Thompson dropped a perfect pass over the top to hit Damiere Byrd in stride for 53 yards, setting up Lattimore’s 6-yard touchdown run.

The Pirates (1-1) were unable to get much going on offense in the first half, and when they did, the momentum was quickly stopped by turnovers. Brison Williams thwarted one of East Carolina’s most promising drives with his first career interception, and Reginald Bowens forced and recovered a fumble at the Gamecocks’ 12-yard line to stop another scoring chance.

East Carolina benched quarterback Rio Johnson in favor of Shane Carden to start the second half, but the move backfired. Johnson reentered the game, only to throw his third interception, which Jimmy Legree returned 34 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-0.

Lattimore pulled even with Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and Harold Green for the school’s career record for touchdowns. Lattimore has 30 rushing scores, one off the record also shared by Rogers and Green.

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