South Carolina finished spring practice with its annual Garnet & Black spring game on Saturday. The Black team won 35-14, but the score wasn’t the headline.

The fans, and an audience on the SEC Network, got to see true freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain, and he didn’t disappoint.

He did a bit of everything, finishing the day 19-for-26 for 169 passing yards and two touchdowns while adding another touchdown on the ground.

He drew praise from coach Will Muschamp.

He had the first score of the day, on a touchdown run around the left side ā€” with a little bit of an assist from a declined holding penalty on Mason Zandi.

He also showed good chemistry with fellow early enrollee Bryan Edwards, who hauled in a pair of touchdown passes in the game.

It’s a combination Gamecocks fans would like to see often in the years to come.


The attendance was announced at 32,916, and the lower bowl at Williams-Brice Stadium was nearly full.

Muschamp stressed the importance of a good atmosphere coming into this game ā€” both for his players and the recruits in the stands ā€” and he got one.


Javon Charleston, a redshirt freshman walk-on from Gurnee, Ill., made a few plays at wide receiver. He finished with four catches for 54 yards.

With the need for playmakers at wide receiver, it will be interesting to see if he can carry over this performance into the summer.


Newcomers Keir Thomas and Kobe Smith got plenty of playing time, and both made plays on the defensive line.

Running back A.J. Turner also showed nice speed, and could be a factor this season in the backfield and the return game.


With all the things that the coaching staff wanted to get done in the spring game, having everyone leave healthy was near the top of the list.

Aside from receiver Christian Owens suffering a high ankle sprain, that’s exactly what happened.


There weren’t many bright moments from the defenses, but that was by design. There were no exotic looks or blitz packages, and defenders weren’t allowed to hit the quarterback.

For a team that finished 99th in the nation in total offense last season, it’s understandable that Muschamp would want his offense to develop a little confidence in a game setting. He’ll have plenty of chances to coach up the defense behind the scenes before the season opener.


Here are a few more thoughts from Muschamp about his team’s work in the spring game: