It wasn't always pretty, but South Carolina rode its running and short passing game and decent red-zone defense to a 33-23 victory over upset-minded East Carolina.
The game got off to an ugly start when USC went three-and-out on its first possession. ECU quickly drove down the field, reminding Gamecocks fans of Texas A&M's offensive field day in Williams-Brice nine days ago. However, Carolina held the Pirates to a field goal. Carolina quickly gave the ball right back to the Pirates when Dylan Thompson threw an interception that bounced off Shaq Roland's hands into those of an ECU defender.
After that point, though, Carolina began playing much better, taking the lead on a long Mike Davis TD run. ECU retook the lead with a TD on the ensuing possession, but Carolina largely controlled the game after that score, playing particularly well on offense en route to the victory. Thompson settled down a little bit, and the USC running game got going pretty well, with Davis in particular impressing with a 101-yard rushing performance on 5.6 yards per carry. All of Carolina's remaining drives would end in points, although frequent field goals inhibited Carolina's bid to blow the game wide open.
As for the much-maligned defense, it struggled frequently throughout the game, only forcing a single punt during the contest. However, it did force a few field goal attempts, one of which was blocked, and it capitalized on a couple of ECU QB Shane Carden mistakes early in the second half, when Carolina extended the lead to two scores.
GABA will have more commentary on the game tonight and tomorrow, but for now, let's hear your thoughts: What did you think about the defense? The play of Dylan Thompson? Carolina's offensive line and running game? Our chances against UGA next week? Sounds off in the comments.