Coastal Carolina turned out not to be a speed bump on the way to Clemson. More like a slingshot.
With its biggest rival looming a week away, No. 12 South Carolina focused all its energy Saturday on the FCS Chanticleers and the result was a dominating 70-10 victory for the Gamecocks in front of 81,411 fans in Williams-Brice Stadium.
“We thought it was going to be more difficult than it turned out, we really did,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “I watched those guys on tape. They have a pretty good team, but obviously we had them out-personneled.”
South Carolina (9-2) gained 639 yards, 17 short of the school record, and scored touchdowns on 10 of the 11 drives on which it tried to score.
“At the end of the first quarter when it was 28-0, we realized these guys were better than Presbyterian,” Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia said.
The Chanticleers (10-2) won something Saturday, too, clinching the Big South conference title as a result of Charleston Southern’s loss to Liberty.
“We wish Coastal the very best in the playoffs,” Spurrier said. “They are to be commended on being their conference champion, something we hope to do some day. Obviously, we had Coastal outmanned, outsized and so forth. Our guys really played well, too. I didn’t know it was going to end up like this.”
South Carolina played six quarterbacks, got touchdowns from nine players and used almost every player on its active roster. Connor Shaw, who completed 8-of-11 passes for 115 yards despite playing only three series, became the school’s all-time winningest quarterback with his 25th win (versus five losses).
“Obviously, it’s pretty special to me,” Shaw said. “Just the way we did it today, too. Our whole offense played great, and it was fun to watch. It’s always good for both sides to play so well, and I think our offense was needing this, a big-time explosive game like this. Yeah, we may have a little momentum.”
As does a defense that played without defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (foot injury), defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (concussion) and safety Brison Williams (arm bruise) and still easily overwhelmed Coastal Carolina. The test will be tougher next week against the Tigers, who were 11th in the country with 41.3 points per game before scoring 52 in a win over The Citadel on Saturday.
“It’s not about who we play next. It’s about us getting better,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. “When we get 11 guys doing what they are supposed to do each play, we have a chance.”
The Chanticleers were only able to hold the ball longer than 2:40 on two of their 12 possessions.
“I figured out why we have trouble with Wofford, they usually have a seven-minute drive every time they touch it, and today Coastal had about one minute or 45 seconds about every time in the first half,” Spurrier said.
The Gamecocks’ 70 points were their most under Spurrier and the fifth-most in school history. Their yardage total tied their record under Spurrier. With starting running back Mike Davis on the bench due to injury, freshman Jamari Smith finished with 103 yards on 10 carries. Freshman wide receiver Pharoh Cooper ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass and finished with 168 all-purpose yards.
“Pharoh is a ball player, we know that,” Spurrier said.
The win was South Carolina’s 40th since the start of the 2010 season.
“We are in position to hopefully, hopefully make something big happen this year,” Spurrier said.
USC: Roland 35 pass from Shaw (Fry kick), 9:40.
USC: J.Smith 3 run (Fry kick), 4:40.
USC: Shaw 1 run (Fry kick), 1:41.
USC: Jones 34 pass from Thompson (Fry kick), :43.
USC: P.Cooper 18 pass from Thompson (Fry kick), 11:21.
USC: Wilds 1 run (Fry kick), 7:53.
Coastal: Taliaferro 1 pass from Ross (Catron kick), 3:23.
USC: Thompson 9 run (Fry kick), 10:25.
USC: P.Cooper 71 run (Fry kick), 7:02.
USC: Carson 1 run (Fry kick), 2:28.
USC: Wilds 4 run (Fry kick), 9:48.
Coastal: FG Catron 46, 4:50.
|Time of Possession||25:29||34:31|
Coastal Carolina, Henderson 6-23, Taliaferro 10-21, Small 5-18, Demos 2-8, Ross 1-6, Church 2-(minus 1), Kass 1-(minus 3). South Carolina, J.Smith 10-103, P.Cooper 2-81, Wilds 7-62, Shaw 5-39, Carson 11-38, Byrd 1-13, Potter 3-12, Nosovitch 2-5, Fuller 1-4, Hails 1-1, Thompson 2-(minus 6).
Coastal Carolina, Ross 15-25-1-168, Church 2-6-0-34, Demos 1-2-0-20, Kass 0-1-1-0, Team 0-1-0-0. South Carolina, Shaw 8-11-0-115, Thompson 8-11-0-140, Nosovitch 2-2-0-13, Hails 1-2-0-14, Orth 1-1-0-5.
Coastal Carolina, Hazel 6-83, Blanks 5-71, Taliaferro 4-11, Mapp 2-37, Israel 1-20. South Carolina, Roland 4-72, Ellington 3-43, Jones 2-46, P.Cooper 2-42, K.Smith 2-22, Whitehurst 2-22, Potter 1-14, Byrd 1-9, Adams 1-8, Fuller 1-5, Brent 1-4.