Gamecocks stop Tar Heels in showdown of Carolinas

uscfoot-dFormer Lake City High running back Shon Carson broke loose on a go-ahead 48-yard scoring run as the South Carolina Gamecocks recorded a 17-13 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels in the season opener for both teams at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC.

Carson’s run down the right sideline with 12:45 remaining gave the Gamecocks their first lead of the contest and linebacker Skai Moore helped protect it with his second interception. Quarterback Connor Mitch passed for 122 yards and one score in his first career start before leaving with a hip injury as South Carolina defeated the Tar Heels for the sixth time in the past seven meetings.

Running back Elijah Hood rushed for a career-best 138 yards and wide receiver Bug Howard caught six passes for a career-high 114 yards and a touchdown for North Carolina. Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams was 19-of-31 passing for 232 yards but threw three costly interceptions.

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier passed on a field goal on fourth-and-1 from the 12-yard line with 8:56 remaining and Tar Heels middle linebacker Jeff Schoettmer stuffed backup quarterback Perry Orth on the sneak to keep North Carolina within four points. The Tar Heels reached the South Carolina 3 before Williams was sacked by Dante Sawyer on third down and intercepted in the end zone by Moore on fourth down with 3:29 left.

North Carolina struck first on Williams’ 21-yard toss to Howard with 5:21 left in the first quarter and the Gamecocks tied it up on the first play of the second quarter when Mitch connected with receiver Pharoh Cooper on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Nick Weiler kicked field goals of 47 and 38 yards in the second quarter to help the Tar Heels lead 13-10 at the break.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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