In the first game of the season, North Carolina did not leave off where they ended the season last year. It was a rough first quarter that saw some struggles continue into the second quarter.
In the first minute and nineteen seconds, the Tar Heels secondary proved just that. They allowed Conner Shaw to connect with Shaq Roland to put the Gamecocks up by seven points early on in the game.
With just five minutes remaining in the first quarter Shaw continued to drive his team down the field, but came up short of a touchdown where Elliott Fry would kick the field goal to add three more points. With a 10-0 lead, the Gamecocks again found a possession before the end of the first quarter where Dylan Thompson connected with Kane Whitehurst for a twenty-nine yard touchdown. South Carolina would go into the second quarter with a 17-0 lead.
The Tar Heels offense began to click, sort of, in the second quarter with a 70 yard drive that would lead to a Bryn Renner touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis to give Larry Fedora’s North Carolina team seven points and cut the lead to just ten points.
Their defense would also settle in, and stop the South Carolina offense for the first time. However the punt drive handed the ball right back into the Gamecocks hands after TJ Thorpe fumbled the punt return. The defense would answer that drive again by stopping Conner Shaw’s offense.
South Carolina would head into the locker room with a 20-7 point lead, thirteen first downs and 260 yards. North Carolina trailing by thirteen points only had six first downs and 121 yards.
Jadeveon Clowney was not a factor at all in the first half. In fact, what little TV time he was given, he looked rather winded and exhausted by Fedora’s high octane and fast paced offense.