The South Carolina Gamecocks won their fourth consecutive bowl game, defeating the Miami Hurricanes 24-21 in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl. The difference proved to be an offensive outburst in the second quarter, during which South Carolina scored 17 points and gained more than 200 yards of offense.
Miami amassed 422 yards of offense to the Gamecocks' 362, but only managed 2 touchdowns in four scoring trips. While they certainly weren't world-beaters, the South Carolina were able to force 3 punts, a missed field goal, a turnover on downs, and a fumble over the course of the game. Miami got its yards, but was unable to finish drives. In that regard, the defense did enough.
Offensively, Dylan Thompson went out in delightful fashion, going 22/34 for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns and scoring once on the ground. Pharoh Cooper, as has become the norm, was far and away the best player in garnet, catching 9 balls for 170 yards and a touchdown. He also dropped two passes, which likely would have had him over 200 with a pair of TDs. The running game was ineffective, as the Gamecocks averaged just 2.7 yards a carry. Mike Davis ran for 55 yards in his last game with South Carolina, but did catch a second quarter touchdown.
Miami struck first and second with a pair of field goals, but it was a 78 yard Pharoh Cooper touchdown grab that gave South Carolina a lead they would ultimately not relinquish. Miami flatlined in the second half, and South Carolina tacked on the Davis touchdown and an Elliott Fry field goal for a 17-6 lead going into the half.
Neither team was dominant in the second half, but Miami scored in the third to make it 17-14 and seemed to have momentum. But a fourth quarter Duke Johnson fumble set up an Pharoh Cooper circus catch inside the ten. Dylan Thompson followed that by scoring on a keeper. Miami would charge downfield and score with just more than 2 minutes remaining to pull within three, but South Carolina was able to get a first down and ultimately run out the clock.
More coverage to come on this game, but for now: enjoy it. It's been a long year, but we get to end it on a decidedly positive note.