USC opened its season with a bang Thursday night as Gamecocks steamrolled Southern Miss 41-13 in front of a little over 70,000 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium. After sputtering out of the gate USC’s offense showed a spark that has seldom been seen in Columbia the past few seasons.
At first it looked like it could be more of the same for the Gamecock offense. Its first three plays lost yards and the first two plays in the following drive led to penalties. There was even a smattering of boos among the 70,000 fans at the stadium.
The fans were relieved when Stephen Garcia was able to jumpstart things with an impressive 22 yard scramble into the end zone to give the Gamecocks their first score of the season. Garcia would add another rushing touchdown later in the game. Garcia finished the game 16-23 for 193 yards in the air and added another 38 yards on the ground. He was not sacked.
Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore was impressive too. Lattimore rushed for 54 yards on 14 carried with two scores.
The 41 points for USC is the most since the Gamecocks scored 44 against Houston in the 2006 Liberty Bowl.
The defense also played well for most of the night. Despite a few key injuries (namely Shaq Wilson) the unit didn’t give up a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter when the game was already well in hand.
Now USC will get ready for its SEC Opener next weekend against Georgia. That will kick off at Noon next Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.