Redshirt senior running back ZaQuandre White rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown as the Garnet picked up a 14-10 victory over the Black in USC’s spring football game on Sunday. Tight end Jaheim Bell also rushed for a score as his Garnet teammates ground out 121 yards and 2 TDs in front of an announced crowd of 13,225 on a picturesque day at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Head coach Shane Beamer said after the contest that the plan for the game was altered due to 23 players not being available to participate. Due to those absences, the team was unable to be split into two equal squads. Therefore, the first half format was a typical contest with two twelve minute quarters. The second half featured situational opportunities such as 3rd down and distance, goal line, and “Red Zone” offense.
The Garnet team, led by Luke Doty, started the scrimmage with a 75-yard scoring drive. White was the featured back on that opening series, carrying the ball four times, including a twenty-two yard run to jump start the march. On 2nd down and eight from the Black 24-yard line, Doty was pressured and threw an interception in the end zone. However, R.J. Roderick was called for a pass interference penalty, setting the Garnet squad up with first and goal at the 10. Two plays later, Doty threw a strike to Bell at the one-yard line with White diving into the end zone on the next play to give the Garnet an early 7-0 lead with 8:08 remaining in the first quarter. Doty finished the first half 5-of-7 passing for 54 yards.
The Black team got its hands on the football next with freshman Colten Gauthier leading the offense. The drive fizzled and that began an exchange of punts between the two teams. A 47-yard field goal by sophomore Mitch Jeter ended the stalemate and cut the Garnet lead to 7-3 late in the first quarter.
White displayed some of his pass catching skills, as well as athleticism on the next drive for the Garnet squad. On a screen pass, Doty was able to find the elusive back in traffic for a nineteen yard catch and run into Black territory. Bell capped the thirteen play drive with a one yard touchdown run, giving the Garnet squad a 14-3 edge with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half.
FCS transfer quarterback Jason Brown made a nice impression on his first drive of the day, guiding the Black to its only touchdown of the afternoon. He was 3-for-5 on the series, including a perfectly thrown 11-yard TD pass to EJ Jenkins in the right corner of the end zone. The toss made the score at halftime (and ultimately the game) 14-10 Garnet.
On defense Kingsley Enagbare recorded two sacks, while Zacch Pickens came away with a fumble recovery. Sumter’s O’Donnell Fortune was the game’s leading tackler with six total stops. Tyreek Johnson also registered a quarterback sack.
Afterwards, Beamer thanked the over 13,000 fans for attending the game and noted how appreciative he was of Dawn Staley and the women’s basketball team for their support. The squad was honored prior to kickoff for its third trip to the “Final Four” in the last six seasons. The Gamecocks also claimed their sixth SEC tournament title in seven seasons with a 67-62 victory over Georgia on March 7th.
Carolina is scheduled to open the new football season on September 4th at home versus Eastern Illinois.
USC Football “Spring Awards“
Offensive Player of the Spring: Dakereon Joyner & Nick Muse
Defensive Player of the Spring: Kingsley Enagbare
Special Teams Player of the Spring: Dakereon Joyner
Outstanding Student-Athlete Award: Dylan Wonnum
Most Improved — Offense: Dakereon Joyner
Most Improved — Defense: Zacch Pickens
Most Imrpoved — Special Teams: Brad Johnson & Josh Vann