CHARLOTTE, NC (WIS) - South Carolina entered the Belk Bowl missing quite a number of defensive starters against Virginia.
With the likes of Jamyest Williams, Javon Kinlaw, and DJ Wonnum not suited up, the Gamecocks struggled to get off the field against a Virginia team that chewed clock all game long. With a balanced offensive attack, the Cavaliers shut out the Gamecocks 28-0 at Bank of America Stadium.
Virginia got on the board first in Saturday’s game. A lengthy 13-play drive took over six minutes off the clock for the Cavs. It ended with Bryce Perkins tossing a 6-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Olamide Zaccheus with 3:30 left in the quarter to make it 7-0 Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers added to their lead in the second quarter thanks to another long possession. This 14-play drive was capped with a 9-yard run by Jordan Ellis to push the Cavs ahead 14-0.
Meanwhile, Carolina’s offense proved to be inconsistent throughout the first half. The Gamecocks tallied 160 total yards, but the Carolina run game was almost non-existent with just 56 first-half yards. To make matters a little more concerning, South Carolina was 2-of-8 on third down. USC needed to find answers in the second half.
Unfortunately, those answers didn’t come and the Cavs continued to make the most of their ball control offense. The third quarter saw Bronco Mendenhall’s squad take a 21-0 lead when Perkins connected with Zaccheus for their second touchdown of the day on a 10-yard pass.
Zaccheus added one more touchdown for good measure to extend Virginia’s lead. Zaccheus finished the day with 12 catches for 100 yards and three touchdown catches. Meanwhile, Bryce Perkins was 22-of-31 for 208 yards and three touchdown passes. He also rushed 15 times for 81 yards.
Virginia held the ball for more than 42 minutes on offense while going 11-of-17 on third down. Conversely, South Carolina was just 2-of-13 on third down conversions. The Gamecocks turned the ball over three times on downs and twice via interception.
Saturday’s loss is the first time South Carolina had been shut out in a bowl game in program history.
The Gamecocks end the season with a 7-6 record.