You’ll be seeing that hashtag all week from Gamecock fans after Saturday’s 49-6 win over UAB. Dylan Thompson, South Carolina’s second-string quarterback who picked up some confidence after last week’s 330-yard performance against East Carolina, spelled Connor Shaw in the second half and had another solid outing in Columbia.
Thompson connected on a 94-yard bomb to Damiere Byrd, hit true freshman Shaq Roland on a post route for a 30-yard score in front of the student section and reached the end zone on a nifty 6-yard keeper. The biggest news from Saturday’s game, however, was Shaw’s shakiness in his return to the field and another injury to the shoulder he hurt in the opener.
Shaw revealed to reporters after the game he actually had a fractured shoulder blade — worse than the publicized deep bone bruise — which immediately sent questions throughout Gamecock nation as to why Steve Spurrier let the junior play against UAB. It’s simple. With the SEC home opener against Mizzou looming, Shaw needed reps against a live defense. He would’ve been rusty after a two-game absence.
As it turns out, Shaw had unusual trouble finding his rhythm against a 33-point underdog. Spurrier blamed it on miscommunication and lack of practice on his postgame show. Shaw overshot a wideout down the visiting sideline for an uncharacteristic interception and noticeably had second thoughts when scrambling. The goal was to get the Gamecocks’ veteran quarterback a few plays on the field, but it backfired.
South Carolina has not released information pertaining to the severity of the injury, but early reports suggest Shaw could miss as many as four weeks. Meanwhile, Thompson would take complete control of the offense if that’s the case as the Gamecocks head into a season-defining seven-game stretch against SEC competition.
Notes from South Carolina’s 49-6 win
- Marcus Lattimore became the Gamecocks’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with his 34th score on a 2-yard plunge just before halftime. He eclipsed the previous mark set by Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and Harold Green.
- Free safety D.J. Swearinger helped South Carolina overcome a sluggish start with a 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown late in the first quarter. Swearinger’s highlight was the Gamecocks’ 13th defensive touchdown since the start of the 2010 season. Swearinger, however, may hear from the SEC office this week for a violent hit on a UAB receiver late in the third quarter. All three officials close to the play tossed flags indicating a personal foul.
- South Carolina freshman running back Mike Davis had a handful of exciting runs in the fourth quarter including a 50-yard burst on his way to 84 yards.
- Struggles in the kicking game have been a consistent problem this season, something the Gamecocks need to fix before next week’s battle with Mizzou. Adam Yates missed a field goal, Tyler Hull averaged just 37.5 yards per punt and the opening kickoff — a pooch kick to the UAB 12 — was returned up the seam by the Blazers’ Jackie Williams to the South Carolina 35.