For the second game in a row the Gamecocks won the coin toss, but this week they decided to receive instead of defer. The decision paid off as the Gamecocks reached the end zone in just 1:13 and five plays.
Bruce Ellington started the drive with a 16-yard rush, but the real spark was a long 53-yard, right on the money pass by Dylan Thompson to Damiere Byrd down the sideline to the six yard line! The pass set up the next play, a six yard Marcus Lattimore rush for a touchdown and the Gamecocks were on the scoreboard. With the score, Lattimore tied the South Carolina record for career touchdowns at 33, shared by George Rogers (1977-80) and Harold Green (1986-1989).
Success on the opening drive bolstered Thompson's confidence for the rest of the game as he went 21-for-37 for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
"All week I just had my mind focused on it's my week to show what I can do. We got off to a great start. I hit Damiere Byrd and it helped my confidence," said Thompson.
"To be honest I wasn't nervous at all. I was just praying all week. Football is just a game. I came into the game and told the receivers to be ready. The important thing is Coach Spurrier gave me a boost of confidence yesterday. He gave me a Bible verse and told me he had confidence in me. It was, "The Lord your God is with you wherever you go ... whom then should we fear. (Joshua 1:9)"