Connor Shaw passed for 149 yards and a touchdown and Mike Davis rushed for 115 yards and a score, as the No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks opened the 2013 season with a 27-10 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Shaw completed 11-of-20 passes and hit Shaq Roland for a 65-yard touchdown on South Carolina's third play from scrimmage, while backup Dylan Thompson's only throw went for a 29-yard touchdown to Kane Whitehurst.
"Connor did alright I think. He didn't have any picks, he only threw 20 passes, and he kept running and stopping," said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "He'd run in there, stop and get knocked backwards. That's not like him. At least he can dive in there for two or three yards."
Davis broke free for a 75-yard touchdown and needed just 12 carries to cross the 100-yard plateau, as the Gamecocks (1-0), coming off an impressive 11-2 campaign last year, won their 14th consecutive season opener.
Heisman hopeful Jadeveon Clowney had a quiet night, registering just three tackles and no sacks. The 2012 SEC Defensive Player of the Year had the leave the game several times to catch his breath.
North Carolina signal-caller Bryn Renner completed 26-of-43 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown, while Romar Morris carried the ball 15 times for 69 yards for the Tar Heels (0-1), who went 8-4 last season and finished tied for first place in the ACC, but were ineligible for a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions.
"We played a really good football team tonight. They have some really good players and coaches and we didn't play the way we wanted to play," said UNC head coach Larry Fedora. "We knew it would be tough coming in here to their stadium and playing a game in this situation and I was disappointed in the way that we played in all three phases of the game, but you have to give South Carolina credit they are a good football team."
The game was delayed nearly two hours due to a lightning strike in the fourth quarter.
Shaw's first pass of the 2013 season produced his team's first points, as he found Roland behind the defense for a 65-yard score to make it 7-0 just 79 seconds into the game.
After a UNC punt, Shaw picked up a first down on 3rd-and-5 early in the Gamecocks' ensuing march and on 4th-and-2 from the UNC 30, Brandon Wilds surged up the middle and appeared to be stopped short of the first down, but kept his legs churning to pick up eight yards and a fresh set of downs.
The drive stalled there however, forcing the Gamecocks to settle for Elliott Fry's 39-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Following a quick three-and-out from the Tar Heels, South Carolina converted a pair of third downs before Thompson took over under center and found a wide open Whitehurst in the back right corner of the end zone for a 29-yard TD and a 17-0 cushion.
The Tar Heels finally got their offense going early in the second, as Renner converted a 4th-and-2 from the South Carolina 25 with an 11-yard toss to Jack Tabb for a fresh set of downs.
Renner picked up another first down with an 8-yard completion to Eric Ebron on 3rd-and-8 and two plays later, the North Carolina quarterback hit Quinshad Davis on a slant route for a 4-yard score to bring the Tar Heels within 17-7.
After an exchange of punts, Fry buried a 26-yard field goal to send South Carolina into the break with a 20-7 cushion.
The Tar Heels turned the opening possession of the second half into points, as Renner converted a 4th-and-11 from the South Carolina 30 with a 13-yard strike to Mark McNeill to keep the trek moving.
Morris broke free for 14 yards down to the Gamecocks' 6-yard line, but on 3rd- and-goal from the 2, Renner misfired on a pass, setting up Thomas Moore's 20- yard field goal to bring the Heels within 20-10.
South Carolina responded quickly, as Davis broke free down the right sideline and outran the defense for a 75-yard score on the Gamecocks' first play from scrimmage to make it 27-10.
South Carolina's defense stifled the Tar Heels from there, forcing three straight punts from the North Carolina offense.
Following the two-hour delay midway through the fourth, the Tar Heels had a prime opportunity to trim their deficit, but Renner was stopped at the goal line on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line, giving South Carolina the ball and ending UNC's hopes of a comeback.
"Our defense took back a big play, and then we held them down around the goal line. Our offense wasn't very good in the fourth quarter, but we did some good running and obviously hit some big plays in the game," Spurrier said.
It was the 56th all-time meeting between these two programs, with UNC holding a 34-18-4 advantage ... South Carolina's No. 6 ranking is the highest preseason ranking in school history ... UNC hasn't won at South Carolina since Sept. 9, 1983 ... Renner has not thrown an interception in his last 134 pass attempts dating back to last season ... Wilds finished with 64 yards on 12 carries for the Gamecocks ... Shaw added 43 rushing yards on 12 carries.