Former Gaffney wide receiver Quinshad Davis waited with much anticipation during the offseason to get to the last Thursday in August.
The North Carolina sophomore (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) was champing at the bit to get a shot at No. 6 South Carolina in the season opener in his home state.
Davis let his presence be known, but it wasn’t enough as the Gamecocks pulled out a 27-10 victory on Thursday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Davis finished with four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown to lead North Carolina. His first catch of the game came on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Bryn Renner to cut South Carolina’s lead to 17-7 with 9:35 left in the first half.
Davis also contributed on a scoring drive to begin the third quarter with a 24-yard catch on third-and-9, followed by a 2-yard rush. He also hauled in a 6-yard catch on the next play that eventually helped lead to a field goal to get the Tar Heels within 20-10 with 7:51 to go.
Davis was happy to help his team but was disappointed the night didn’t end with a win.
“It didn’t go as planned,” he said. “We see that we’ve got a lot of stuff to work on. We’ll go back in practice and work on those things and get ready for next week.”
Davis had a stellar freshman season, leading the Tar Heels with 61 catches for 776 yards (12.7 average) with five touchdowns. The catches and yards set UNC freshman records. He played in every game and tied an ACC single-game record with 16 catches in a 37-13 win at Virginia. He earned honorable mention freshman All-America honors from CollegeFootballNews.com.
Davis hopes to follow up his freshman campaign with a strong sophomore season, but he knows improvements need to be made. The Gamecocks held a 406-293 advantage in total yards, despite running 20 fewer plays.
“At times, our tempo looked real good,” he said. “At times, we looked real shaky. When it was looking good, we had them on their heels. We’ve just got to practice at that speed all the time. We’ve got to get in more shape, and I think we’ll be fine.”
Davis was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year after leading Gaffney with 108 catches for 2,009 yards and 25 touchdowns his senior year. The Indians finished as state runners-up with a 14-1 record. He also was a finalist for the Mr. Football award, which is given to the state’s top high school senior player.
Despite the loss, Davis enjoyed opening the season in his home state.
“It was an awesome feeling coming back home and seeing the guys on the opposite team,” he said. “I saw some of my (former) coaches who were here watching, and it felt really good.”