Columbia, SC – Dylan Thompson completed 5-of-10 passes for 177 yards and threw for two touchdowns to lead eighth-ranked South Carolina to a 49-6 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday.
Connor Shaw started at quarterback for the Gamecocks (3-0), but was knocked out of the game late in the first half after re-injuring a shoulder that sidelined him last week. He went 8-for-14 through the air for 107 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier notched his 200th career win as a coach.
Marcus Lattimore rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and Mike Davis ran for 84 yards and a score for South Carolina, which has won seven straight dating back to last season.
"Every game is a little different. This was one of the closest 49-6 game I've ever been around" Spurrier said. "They stuffed us pretty good the first half. We were fortunate to get what points we could. Seems like we couldn't get a guy open or hit anybody. It was a struggle."
Jonathan Perry was 17-of-34 passing for 219 yards and Patrick Hearn caught four passes for 66 yards for the Blazers (0-2), who have dropped three straight to the Gamecocks.
"I'm really proud of our team. I think that our team really hung in there and played with a great attitude for a long time," UAB head coach Garrick McGee said. "I thought they did a good job on Marcus Lattimore who is one of the more dominating football players in the country. I think we went in at halftime and he only had about 30 yards, so I'm really proud of our kids. They really hung in there and competed with one of the top teams in the country for a long time in the game."
UAB returned the opening kick 53 yards, but couldn't get anything going and settled for a 33-yard Ty Long field goal.
South Carolina finally got on the board with 2:17 left in the first when D.J. Swearinger recovered a Perry fumble and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.
After stopping the Blazers on fourth down the Gamecocks took over on their own 36. Shaw found Ace Sanders for 25 yards to get into UAB territory. Shaw later found Sanders again for a 16-yard touchdown.
Long nailed a 46-yarder with 8:30 to play in the first half to cap an 8-play, 29 yard drive.
After a Hunter Mullins punt netted 19 yards, South Carolina needed just five plays to cross the goal line. After three consecutive incompletions a UAB penalty on fourth down gave the Gamecocks new life. Shaw found Bruce Ellington for 20 yards to put the ball on the UAB 2. Shaw, however, re-injured his shoulder on the play after being on the wrong end of a vicious hit. He did not return to the game.
"Connor got hit on that sore spot in his back. As soon as he threw it the guy hit him on that spot. It was painful," Spurrier said. "Before the game I said `If you get hit will you be hurting?' He said, `No, I'm alright.' The trainers and doctors all cleared him. I thought he earned and deserved the chance to start. He struggled early there. Fortunately he got a good throw to Bruce (Ellington), but he struggled. He seemed to be tentative or maybe hesitant."
Lattimore would punch it in from 2-yards out on the following play.
It was all South Carolina in the second half as the Gamecocks added a pair of touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarter.
Thompson capped a 9-play, 75-yard march with a 6-yard TD scamper. Thompson was just 3-for-7 on the drive, but he found Ellington for 43 yards to set up the score.
Later in the quarter Thompson hooked up with Damiere Bryd for a 94-yard touchdown pass.
In the fourth, Sanders returned a UAB punt 35 yards to the Blazers' 30 and Thompson found Shaq Roland in the end zone on the next play for the score.
After forcing yet another UAB three-and-out the Gamecocks found the end zone once again and Davis bulled his way in for a 3-yard score. Earlier in the drive, Davis broke off a 20-yard rush before Seth Strickland found Jerrell Adams for a 33-yard gain to set up the score.
South Carolina has gone 3-0 in three straight seasons ... The Gamecocks held UAB to just 27 yards rushing on 42 attempts ... Lattimore broke the school record for career touchdowns with 34 ... UAB has allowed 442 rushing yards in its first two games.