Perry Orth

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After leaving South Carolina, QB Connor Mitch to start over at James Madison

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Just a little over a month after leaving South Carolina, Connor Mitch has found himself a new college football home.

On Twitter Monday, Mitch revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at James Madison.  As the Dukes play at the FCS level, and Mitch himself is a recent graduate of USC, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

Additionally, Mitch will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Mitch started the first two games of the 2015 season for the Gamecocks before a hip injury and shoulder injury knocked him out for the remainder of the year.

Part of a five-man competition in the spring, Mitch fell behind the current front-runner, freshman Brandon McIlwain, as well as a pair of quarterbacks injured for portions of the spring, senior Perry Orth and sophomore Lorenzo Nunez.  That positioning on the depth chart apparently led to his mid-May transfer.

During his time in Columbia, Mitch completed 15-of-35 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. He also added 48 yards and another touchdown on 17 carries.

Report: Gamecock starting QB Perry Orth suffers broken collarbone

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The way things are going, the winner of South Carolina’s quarterback competition could come down to the survivor of an ongoing battle of injury attrition.

Last weekend, Lorenzo Nuñez sustained what was originally reported to be a significant knee injury that was later dialed back to one that would keep him out for a week or so. This weekend, The State is reporting, senior Perry Orth suffered a broken collarbone during Saturday’s scrimmage.

Orth “had a Saturday afternoon surgery scheduled,” the Columbia newspaper reported, and will miss the remainder of spring practice. The rehab process should allow him to participate in summer workouts and, presumably, the start of summer camp in early August.

After starting eight games last season, Orth had taken the majority of the first-team snaps this spring and was the presumptive front-runner of a competition that has been, technically, five players strong: Orth, Nuñez, Connor MitchBrandon McIlwain and Michael Scarnecchia.  The injuries leave the Gamecocks with three healthy quarterbacks for the foreseeable future, although Nuñez is expected back before the end of spring.

Knee injury puts Gamecocks QB Lorenzo Nuñez on sideline

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South Carolina quarterback Lorenzo Nuñez could miss the remainder of spring practices in Columbia after going down with a knee injury in practice over the weekend. According to a report from John Whittle of 247 Sports, Nuñez suffered a hyper-extended knee and sprained a ligament.

South Carolina has a wide-open competition brewing for the starting quarterback job under new head coach Will Muschamp. Including Nuñez, South Carolina’s options include Connor Mitch, Perry Orth, Brandon McIlwain, Michael Scarnecchia. Orth is the likely favorite after grabbing hold of the job last season, but everyone gets a clean slate with the recent coaching change with the program.

Nuñez was South Carolina’s second-leading passer last season, behind Orth. Appearing in eight games, Nuñez completed 61.5 percent of his pass attempts (32-of-52) for 376 yards and three touchdowns, with three interceptions.

No. 1 Clemson survives late push from South Carolina, heads to ACC title game unbeaten

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Clemson gave South Carolina chances to pull one of those only-in-a-rivalry-game stunners, but the No. 1 Tigers were too much for the three-win Gamecocks, pulling out a 37-32 win in Columbia.

Clemson lost fumbles near midfield on two of its first three possessions, but South Carolina achieved only a three-and-out and a missed field goal on the two following touches.

The Tigers then broke the game open by scoring touchdowns on their next four non-clock killing possessions, scoring on a pair of Deshaun Watson runs (from five and 30 yards out), a 55-yard Watson strike to Deon Cain and a four-yard C.J. Fuller plunge, turning a scoreless tie into a 28-10 blowout late in the third quarter.

But South Carolina climbed back in the game, first on a 57-yard heave from Perry Orth to Pharoh Cooper and then, after a Clemson fumble, a one-yard Shon Carson run. Lorenzo Nunez‘s two-point conversion made the score 28-25 with 12:19 remaining.

Watson answered by driving Clemson 75 yards in 10 plays, ending the push with his third scoring run of the day — this time from three yards out.

South Carolina (3-9) could not muster a second rally, going three-and-out on the ensuing possession and then turning the ball over on downs at its own 25 with 1:28 remaining to end any hope of a comeback. Greg Huegel added a 36-yard field goal for Clemson with 1:22 remaining, and South Carolina posted a cosmetic touchdown pass from Orth to Deebo Samuel with one tick left on the clock.

Watson closed the day with Heisman-like numbers, hitting 20-of-27 passes for 279 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions while rushing 21 rushes for 114 yards and three touchdowns. Wayne Gallman added 19 carries for 102 yards, and the Tigers out-gained the ‘Cocks 515-402 while holding a 26-17 first downs advantage.

The win moves Clemson to 12-0 on the season — its first 12-0 record since claiming the 1981 national championship — heading into an ACC Championship showdown with once-beaten and 14th-ranked North Carolina next Saturday in Charlotte.

The win also ends Clemson’s three-game losing streak at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Tigers beat the cross-state Gamecocks in back-to-back years for the first time since 2007-08 and extended their all-time lead to 67-42-4 in a series dating back to 1896.