South Carolina got off to a rough start on Saturday night against Charlotte, and despite MarShawn Lloyd’s heroics, the defense struggled to contain a 49ers offense that appeared to be better than its 1-3 record would suggest. But by the start of the second half, the Gamecocks removed all doubt.

Charlotte controlled the time of possession by nearly 5 minutes by halftime, and the 49ers only punted once in the first half. And while the Gamecocks got a pair of field goals from Mitch Jeter, and a touchdown from Christian Beal-Smith, it was Lloyd, who made room on all of the highlight reels with this eye-popping touchdown. Turns out, that was just the start of a huge night for the Gamecocks’ running back.

Ultimately, South Carolina prevailed 56-20, thanks primarily to 295 rushing yards.

In what was an offensive clinic, South Carolina scored on every drive until midway through the fourth quarter behind a punishing ground game. The Gamecocks turned it on for 38 straight unanswered points by early in the fourth quarter.

Lloyd served notice in the first half, and continued his “human wrecking ball” running style to take over the game with 10:25 left in the third quarter when he scored on a 14-yard run. That gave Lloyd 162 yards for a bona fide breakout game, and something Gamecocks fans have waited for since he was a blue chip recruit out of the Washington, D.C. area. He’s the first Gamecock running back to go for at least 150 yards since Kevin Harris did it in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl last season.

Lloyd finished with 169 yards on 15 carries and 3 touchdowns.

For perspective, he had 75 yards in the first 3 games.

Charlotte started the game 5-for-5 on third down conversions as the 49ers did a great job controlling the time of possession. Case in point was a 13-play drive that covered 90 yards and 7 minutes for the first touchdown of the game.

The 49ers’ offense stalled in the second half, largely because of 3 interceptions, including one by DQ Smith, who had a first-half interception erased on replay, late in the third quarter. Earlier, the Gamecock pass rush forced pressure on Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds, which led to an interception for Brad Johnson. The defense overall improved in the third quarter with a sequence of punt-pick-pick-pick showing.

South Carolina returns to action next week against South Carolina State.