One of the more attractive games in the early slate of games on college football’s opening night never quite matched the hype, but South Carolina will take it anyway. The Gamecocks opened the year with a 27-10 victory over North Carolina in a game that featured a lightning delay of one hour and 44 minutes.
South Carolina opened up a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and held off any attempt at a rally by North Carolina. The Gamecocks never saw their lead dip below double digits after building it in the first quarter. The game itself more or less went according to plan. South Carolina was able to handle the up-tempo style of Larry Fedora and the Tar Heels and were able to flex some muscle along the way. Gamecocks star Jadeveon Clowney may not have had a highlight-filled game, but he was the center of one of the more notable moments of the game, and not in a good way.
Clowney was taken down from behind when North Carolina offensive tackle Kiaro Holts took what can only be seen as a cheep shot on an unsuspecting Clowney. Closing in on UNC quarterback Bryn Renner, Clowney had clearly let up on his pursuit as Renner got off a pass. No longer a threat to Renner, Clowney instead was looking downfield to watch the rest of the play develop, when suddenly Kiaro dove right in to the back of Clowney’s right leg.
Clowney did not have to leave the game, but this is a play that will likely be cause for review from the ACC offices. The animated GIF of the incident, seen via SB Nation, sure seems fairly intentional.
The win was a good start for the Gamecocks of course. The offense put together 400 yards of offense and avoided turning the football over. Much of the production came on the ground with Mike Davis stepping in to the leading rusher role nicely with 115 yards and a touchdown. Next up for South Carolina will be the key early season SEC East bout with Georgia. The game could be a pivotal one of course with the winner taking an early lead in what could be a heated SEC East race.
North Carolina probably should not be too upset with their performance, but the game should serve as a good barometer for how much work needs to be done to reach the next level as a program. North Carolina will get a chance to rebound next week when they host Middle Tennessee.