Several thousand fans were on hand to watch the Gamecocks scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium on Wednesday night, and they were treated to a seven touchdown performance that included several big plays by both the offense and the defense.
The offense struck quickly when sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw hit senior Jason Barnes in stride on the first play of the game for a 70-yard score. Shaw later found freshman Damiere Byrd streaking behind the Carolina secondary for an 80-yard bomb. Shaw was 6-for-11 for 192 yards and the two touchdowns before leaving the game with a right thumb injury.
“Connor Shaw got his (right) thumb hit on a helmet or a hand or something,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following the scrimmage. “His thumb sort of popped out of joint briefly, but they got it back in. He’s says that’s happened before and it shouldn’t bother him. So hopefully he’ll be ok in two or three days, but we’ll just have to wait and see. But other than that, he threw some good long balls,” continued the Head Ball Coach. “We hit some deep balls today. Damiere Byrd got another long one and Jason Barnes got one and Ace Sanders.”
Fifth-year senior quarterback Stephen Garcia completed 8-of-13 passes for 128 yards, including a 23-yard scoring pass to Sanders. Sanders also tossed an 18-yard scoring strike to DeAngelo Smith.
“Stephen threw some good balls there at the end,” noted Coach Spurrier, “so we had some encouraging plays and we had some sorry plays also.”
The Gamecock defense, which did not force a turnover in last Saturday’s scrimmage, logged four turnovers on Wednesday. Freshman Jadeveon Clowney picked up a Stephen Garcia fumble and rumbled 22 yards to paydirt, while Cory Addison, Kadetrix Marcus and Marty Markett intercepted passes.
“The defense had a lot of good plays here and there,” said Coach Spurrier. “They were hustling around.”
Five players combined for 47 passing attempts, while the Gamecocks rushed just 28 times on the night. Shon Carson was the top rusher with six carries for 42 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Wilds was impressive as well with four rushes for 33 yards. Barnes was the top receiver with 83 yards on three receptions.
“Brandon’s a good running back,” noted Coach Spurrier. “He can make guys miss and knows how to hit the hole. Brandon’s probably going to play because he can play special teams too we’ve learned. He’s a good athlete.”
The fall semester begins at South Carolina on Thursday. The Gamecocks will return to the Bluff Road practice fields Thursday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. That practice is closed. Coach Spurrier will host his first weekly “Carolina Calls” call-in show Thursday night from Wild Wings Café in the Vista at 7 p.m.
Post scrimmage interviews:
Jason Barnes 70-yard pass from Connor Shaw (Jay Wooten kick)
Jadeveon Clowney 22-yard fumble recovery (Adam Yates kick)
Damiere Byrd 80-yard pass from Shaw (Wooten kick)
Wooten 41-yard field goal
Ace Sanders 23-yard pass from Stephen Garcia (Yates kick)
DeAngelo Smith 18-yard pass from Sanders (Wooten kick)
K.J. Brent 43-yard pass from Dylan Thompson (Yates kick)
Shon Carson 16-yard run (Wooten kick)
Yates 38-yard field goal
Connor Shaw 6-11-1-192, 2 TD; Stephen Garcia 8-13-0-128, 1 TD; Dylan Thompson 8-15-1-92, 1 TD; Andrew Clifford 2-7-1-8; Ace Sanders 1-1-0-18, 1 TD. TOTALS: 25-47-3-438, 5 TD.
Shon Carson 6-42, 1 TD; Brandon Wilds 4-33; Kenny Miles 5-11; Josh Hinch 3-5; Andrew Clifford 1-4; Dylan Thompson 4-(-2); Damiere Byrd 1-(-4); Seth Strickland 1-(-5); Stephen Garcia 3-(-28). TOTALS: 28-56, 1 TD.
Jason Barnes 3-83, 1 TD; K.J. Brent 3-58, 1 TD; DeAngelo Smith 3-50, 1 TD; Lamar Scruggs 2-39; Ace Sanders 2-37, 1 TD; Shon Carson 2-16; Damiere Byrd 1-80, 1 TD; D.L. Moore 1-21; Justice Cunningham 1-17; Nick Jones 1-14; Payton Brady 1-7; Kenny Miles 1-6; Rory Anderson 1-6; Bruce Ellington 1-2; Eric Baker 1-1; Josh Hinch 1-1. TOTALS: 25-438, 5 TD.