COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina (3-4), led by freshman quarterback Jake Bentley in his first career start, captured a 34-28 win over UMass (1-7) on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Gamecocks jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after two one-yard touchdown runs from freshman Rico Dowdle and junior David Williams. The Minutemen answered seven seconds into the second quarter, as Andrew Ford hit Adam Breneman for a 14-yard scoring pass.
Bentley tossed two TD passes in the second quarter, finding sophomore K.C. Crosby on a 16-yard strike before completing a 24-yard pass to freshman Bryan Edwards to put the score to 27-7. Bentley completed 13 of 21 passes in the first half for 168 yards and the two scores.
UMass followed the Edwards completion with a 74-yard streak from Ford to Jalen Williams to close the gap to 27-14 just before halftime. The Gamecocks held UMass to 213 yards in the first half and collected three turnovers from the Minutemen, picking up two fumbles and making one interception.
South Carolina took advantage of a short UMass punt for its fifth touchdown drive. Williams punched in his second score of the game from one yard out to make it 34-14. The Minutemen answered with 10 minutes to go in the game as Ford ran one in from eight yards out.
A 15-play, 74-yard drive late in the fourth quarter, capped by Ford’s 18-yard pass to Breneman, drew UMass to within a score at 34-28. But the Gamecocks strung together four first downs, two on UMass pass-interference flags, to keep the Minutemen from getting another chance with the ball.
The Gamecocks capitalized on four UMass turnovers to score 13 points and lead to the victory.
Bentley went 17-for-26 for 201 yards and two touchdowns to get the victory.
The Gamecocks ran for a season-high 194 yards, led by Dowdle’s 87 yards on 16 carries, a career best.
Williams’ two TD runs were his first two this season. He carried the ball 15 times for 69 yards, also a season high.
Sophomore Deebo Samuel reeled in eight passes for 106 yards, both career bests. He also ran twice for 31 yards.
The Gamecock offense converted half of its third-down chances (6-of-12).
Junior D.J. Smith made a career-best 12 stops, 10 of them solo, in the victory.
Junior Bryson Allen-Williams made nine tackles, including matching his career high with 2.5 tackles for loss.
Senior T.J. Holloman had six tackles, one interception, one pass break-up, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.
Junior Jamarcus King had three pass break-ups in the contest.
Junior Chris Lammons made his third interception of the season.