As Williams-Brice Stadium suffered from a power outage to start the game, the South Carolina offense struggled with a power outage of its own on Saturday night.
Playing sluggish throughout the opening half, the Gamecocks managed just 149 yards of offense. Quarterback Stephen Garcia was 7-of-11 for 44 yards as the offense couldn’t find a way to get in sync. Only a solid defensive effort by the South Carolina defense kept the score to just 10-7 at the break.
“It was pretty similar to the FAU game – very close at halftime,” said Coach Steve Spurrier. “South Carolina State is a good football team and they played with us, probably played better than us in the first half. We weren’t playing very well.”
Garcia echoed Spurrier’s comments.
“We just came out flat,” he said. “That’s not the way we need to play. We talk about “New Carolina” and all that, but we need to come out with more fire and intensity.”
Just as the stadium power issue was resolved at halftime (South Carolina Electric & Gas’ power blew a fuse and affected a number of areas of the stadium, including the television feed), the Gamecock offense readjusted in the locker room and came out with a strong second half. The Gamecocks scored 28 second half points to turn a tight game into a 38-14 result. South Carolina picked up 377 total yards, 228 in the second half. Garcia was 6-of-8 for 88 yards and had two touchdowns in the half.
“[Garcia] made some of the best throws since he’s been here,” said Spurrier. “When your quarterback makes good throws and your receivers run good routes, you look pretty good.”
Wide receiver Moe Brown had six catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns for what Spurrier said was his “best half ever as a Gamecock.”
“He atoned for that fumble he had in the first half,” said Garcia. “He ran some great routes tonight.”
Even though none of the running backs broke the century mark tonight, all three backs averaged over six yards per carry. Jarvis Giles led the way with 11 carries for 74 yards, Kenny Miles had 10 carries for 60 yards and Brian Maddox carried it 7 times for 46 yards.
“Jarvis and Kenny are very explosive backs and Brian Maddox is an excellent blocker, carries the ball very well and he’s tough to bring down,” said Garcia “It’s very good to have a combination like that.”
Spurrier and Garcia were both impressed by the quality of the South Carolina State team.
“They are a talented team, very fast,” said Garcia. “It just took us a half to realize it.”
“It was a good, solid, hard-earned victory,” said Spurrier. “We’re glad it’s over and we wish South Carolina State the best. We’re just looking forward to Kentucky now.”
South Carolina is back in action next Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against the Kentucky Wildcats at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.