You could feel some tension in the air as the crowd seemed a little nervous by Carolina not producing much offense in the first quarter.
D.J. Swearinger put a quick stop to that. With 2:17 to play in the quarter the senior safety gave the Gamecocks the spark they needed.
Consider what defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said post-game about his defense:
"We talk about it, we want to create plays for our offense...It was exciting to see a big play (on defense) to change the momentum."
UAB was driving on the Gamecocks, but pressure from Devin Taylor on a long 3rd down led to a fumble by the Blazers' quarterback, Jonathan Perry. Swearinger made a quick play to pluck the ball from the air and took off for the end zone, scoring a 65-yard touchdown.
"I was on the blitz and we got pressure from the front side with Devin," Swearinger explained after the game. "I saw the ball, picked it up and took it to the distance. It was definitely a game changing moment and we needed that to give us a boost."
"[After the play] my teammates were high-fiving and giving chest bumps. It was a big play and a game changing moment, and I see myself as a game changer so I feel great about that play. Ended up getting a gameball, so that's cool."
Other notable plays receiving votes:
- Dylan Thompson to Damiere Byrd for a 94-yard touchdown, the fourth longest in school history.
- Marcus Lattimore's 2-yard TD in the 2nd quarter that gave him the all-time career touchdowns record at Carolina with 34, surpassing George Rogers and Harold Green.