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.
North Carolina seemed to pick the pace up in the third quarter coming out with a strong drive. However a mistake on third down cost Renner and UNC a touchdown and they settled for three points.
South Carolina’s next drive would results in a 75 yard rushing touchdown for Mike Davis and would extend the South Carolina lead yet again, 27-10.
After a solid looking drive from Renner, Morris, and Blue; Russell Bodine would get called for a false start and it would reset the Tar Heels on a long third down and end the drive forcing UNC to punt it away again.
With 8:20 remaining in the final quarter the game was suspended for lightening in the area until 10:30 p.m.
After nothing going for South Carolina, TJ Thorpe returned the punt for twenty-yards giving UNC a good position on the field. Renner would convert on first down, but Kiaro Holts would clip Clowney and bring the ball back to a 3rd and 25 play. Renner would be rushed and it would be a 4th and 47 punt for UNC, essentially ending UNC’s night.
With one last possession, Fedora pushed his Tar Heels to get some plays in before the game ended. Renner would drive the field again and get the Tar Heels into the red zone. After a pass interference on South Carolina that cost freshman Ryan Switzer a potential touchdown, it reset the downs for UNC. However, nothing would come from it as Renner would be tackled on the one yard line on fourth down ending the drive.
Final Score: South Carolina 27 – North Carolina 10