Gamecocks’ lightning-strike attack too hot for Tar Heels

Gamecock fans had to wait through an almost two-hour lightning delay but it was well worth the wait.

No. 7 South Carolina won its season opener for the 14th consecutive year, beating North Carolina 27-10 on Thursday night in front of 81,572 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game had a one-hour, 44-minute weather delay with the same score at 8:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.

South Carolina used a revamped rushing attack to keep the high-scoring North Carolina offense at bay. The Gamecocks, which opened the season with its highest ranking in school history at No. 6, got an impressive performance from running back Mike Davis. The sophomore had 115 yards on 12 carries with a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

North Carolina pulled within 20-10 by taking the second half kick-off and getting a 20-yard field goal by Thomas Moore to cap a 17-play drive. But Davis extended the lead on the next play when he took a handoff, broke it outside and outraced the defense for the 75-yard score.

North Carolina’s offense, which set school records for yardage and points last year in Larry Fedora’s first season in Chapel Hill, never got on track. They were held to their lowest point total since 2011 and only managed 299 yards. Quarterback Bryn Renner finished 26-of-43 passing for 194 yards and one score.

South Carolina scored on its first three series to jump to a 17-0 lead. The Gamecocks struck quickly on the third play from scrimmage with a 65-yard scoring strike from Connor Shaw to Shaq Roland. North Carolina was forced to punt on its first series and South Carolina took a 10-0 lead on a 39-yard field goal by walk-on freshman Elliott Fry.

After another Tar Heels punt, South Carolina backup quarterback Dylan Thompson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kane Whitehurst on his first play in the game.

The Gamecocks had 203 yards of offense after its opening three drives and the Tar Heels mustered only 35 yards and one first down.

North Carolina got its offense on track with a methodical 16-play, 70-yard drive to pull to 17-7. Renner capped the march with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis. Fry gave South Carolina a 20-7 lead at the half with a 26-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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