(Thursday, September 2nd)
Final Score: South Carolina 41, Southern Mississippi 13
Columbia, SC (Sports Network) - Stephen Garcia threw for 193 yards and scored twice on the ground as he led the South Carolina Gamecocks to a commanding 41-13 win over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a non-conference matchup at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Garcia converted 16-of-23 passing for the Gamecocks (1-0) and also gained 38 yards rushing for a program that piled up 224 yards and four TDs on the ground in the season-opening victory. Running back Marcus Lattimore added a team-best 54 yards and another two rushing touchdowns for the home team.
The Golden Eagles (0-1) were led by Austin Davis who hit on 31-of-43 passing for 238 yards, but he was sacked once and threw an interception in the setback.
Garcia put the first points on the board in the opening quarter after racing into the end zone from 22 yards out.
A little more than four minutes later Southern Miss responded with a 33-yard field goal by Danny Hrapmann, capping a nine-play, 59-yard drive to make the score 7-3.
From there USC rattled off 17 straight points, beginning with a Spencer Lanning 36-yard field goal early in the second period. Lattimore then logged TD runs of three and seven yards within a span of less than three minutes to give the Gamecocks a 24-3 edge.
Before the first half could end, Hrapmann set up for and nailed a 36-yard field goal to make the score 24-6 at the break.
The third period saw South Carolina dominate once again, beginning with a 42- yard field goal by Lanning. With 4:43 remaining in the frame Garcia dropped back to pass at the three-yard line but then split the difference and fought his way towards the goal line. He was initially ruled down short of the end zone, but a review of the play showed that the ball broke the plane prior to his knee touching the ground and USC was awarded the score as they moved their lead to 34-6.
Backup quarterback Connor Shaw stepped in and converted four of his five pass attempts for the Gamecocks, one of those being a 15-yard effort to D.L. Moore less than four minutes into the fourth period, raising the score to 41-6.
Like USC, the Golden Eagles also went with their second-string signal-caller in Martevious Young and he managed to make good on 7-of-14 passing for 99 yards in limited play. Young was able to get the visitors into the end zone late in the contest with a 29-yard TD pass to DeAndre Brown, but by then it was too little, too late in what was a 28-point win for the home team.
The 41 points scored by South Carolina were the most since the team defeated Houston in the Liberty Bowl by a score of 44-36 back in 2006. Last season the Gamecocks ranked 11th in the SEC and 102nd in the country in scoring with a mere 20.6 ppg.
09/03 00:48:13 ET