CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WIS) - Bank of America Stadium hasn’t been kind to the Gamecocks in their last two trips.
Will Muschamp’s squad hoped to get rid of the bad taste left behind by their Belk Bowl loss in Charlotte to end last season. However, North Carolina served up another bitter pill for the Gamecocks to swallow. After trailing by 11, Sam Howell led the Tar Heels’ offense in a surge that saw his team score 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to secure a 24-20 win.
After trading field goals, South Carolina gained control in the first quarter.
A 34-yard touchdown carry by Tavien Feaster would push the Gamecocks ahead 10-3 with 3:09 left in the quarter.
Feaster finished the half with 74 yards and a score on 13 carries.
North Carolina put together a lengthy drive but they weren’t able to come up with any points to show for it thanks to efforts by Aaron Sterling during the series. Javon Kinlaw followed that by blocking a 47-yard field goal attempt by Noah Ruggles. That was Kinlaw’s third career blocked kick.
While the Gamecocks were able to go into the locker room with a 13-6 lead, the Tar Heels outgained the Gamecocks 198-169 in total yardage at the half.
North Carolina would add a third Ruggles field goal to their total. South Carolina struggled to produce offensively in the third until the 5:10 mark. That’s when Bentley connected with Kyle Markway for a 22-yard touchdown pass to extend South Carolina’s lead to 20-9.
However, momentum shifted back to the North Carolina sideline. Another heavy dose of runs for the Tar Heels by Antonio Williams gave way to a 22-yard touchdown pass from Sam Howell to Dyami Brown. Howell added the 2-point conversion and the Heels cut the lead to 20-17 with 14:27 left in the game.
The Tar Heels took the lead with 8:26 to go. Sam Howell found Beau Corrales for a 17-yard touchdown pass putting Mack Brown’s squad up 24-20.
Howell finished the day going 15-of-24 for 245 yards and two touchdown passes.
In South Carolina’s final two drives, Bentley wasn’t able to lead the Gamecocks back. A pair of interceptions by the senior quarterback to Myles Woolfolk. However, North Carolina downed the ball four times to give South Carolina the ball back with 11 seconds to go. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, Jake Bentley was taken down by a pair of Tar Heels to seal the win.
South Carolina looks to bounce back next week when they host Charleston Southern.