Nov. 18, 2017
South Carolina 31, Wofford 10
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore believes the Gamecocks have one mission in the week leading up to rival Clemson - find that edge.
Moore, the fifth-year senior, had a record-tying interception that turned things in the Gamecocks favor and stuffed out another Wofford drive in the third quarter as South Carolina reached eight wins for the first time in four years with a 31-10 victory Saturday.
Moore was a freshman in 2013, the last time the Gamecocks won that many - and last time they defeated state rival Clemson, their next opponent.
''That's the motto I'm going to be preaching throughout the week,'' Moore said. ''Just have an edge about us and come out there and leave it all out on the field.''
South Carolina (8-3) certainly did that against Wofford, an FCS opponent who had not beaten the Gamecocks since 1917. After falling behind 3-0 and seeing Wofford stop them short on fourth down, quarterback Jake Bentley and the Gamecocks got going.
Bentley ran for two touchdowns and passed for a third to end any threat of another stunner, like when Citadel, Wofford's SoCon rival, beat them 23-22 two years ago.
Bentley finished off a 50-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard TD run. Bentley hit Bryan Edwards with a pretty, 23-yard scoring pass on the next series and the Gamecocks were on their way to their 17th straight victory over Wofford (9-2).
South Carolina had not won eight games in a season since 2013, the last of three consecutive 11-2 marks under former coach Steve Spurrier. To get even more, the Gamecocks will need to end Clemson's three-game win streak in the rivalry. Expect South Carolina to be big underdogs to the defending national champions who won this game 56-7 a year ago and are poised for another playoff run this season.
"It's a big deal for a lot of people,'' said tailback A.J. Turner, who finished the Gamecocks scoring with a 2-yard TD run in the final quarter.
Bentley, the sophomore quarterback, leads South Carolina with six rushing touchdowns, all coming in the past four games. Bentley threw for 194 yards on 22 of 28 passing with no interceptions.
South Carolina's defense did its part, too. The Gamecocks held Wofford, which came in averaging 260 yards rushing, to 155 yards on the ground. Moore's pick was the 14th of his career, matching Bo Davies mark set 46 years ago.
Wofford coach Mike Ayers, who's won 206 games in 30 years with the Terriers, said early mistakes cost his team against Power Five opponents.
''You give them too many opportunities, especially when they're a big physical team, you're going to run the risk of getting worn out,'' Ayers said.
QUOTING COACH MUSCHAMP
"Very workman-like effort. I thought our guys approached this game the right way. We had a couple drops early in the game that were disappointing that put us behind the change a little bit. First drive of the game they out-numbered us on the split-side option, load option series out of a pod look which was a good job on their part. We adjusted in the second half. They hit us one time in the first drive of the second half. It's all a numbers game when you play an offense like that. You've got to get the numbers right regardless of how fast you are or big you are. It doesn't matter, it's about numbers. They did a good job of outnumbering us on the first drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half. Our guys made some adjustments. Turnovers are key when you play these sort of teams. You've got to score. We were able to score in those situations. We ran the ball much better in the second half, we were very balanced. Jake was on target. We had too many drops. That was disappointing. I think we came out pretty much injury free. Antoine Wilder had an elbow but I think he's going to be fine. Shi's got an ankle. Other than that, we ought to be good to go for next week."
Wofford held a 3-0 lead after the end of the first quarter and had possession but on the first play of the second period, Skai Moore recorded his 14th career interception, tying a South Carolina career interception record and setting up a Jake Bentley 1-yard run, giving the Gamecocks a lead they would never relinquish.
1,004 — A.J. Turner ran for 69 yards on 11 carries in the win over Wofford but it was his final carry of the game that made him the 43rd player in South Carolina history to reach 1,000 yards rushing for his career. Turner also had a touchdown, a 2-yard scamper, to give the Gamecocks the final 21-point scoring margain.
The Gamecocks wrap up the 2017 regular season next week when they host Clemson in the annual Palmetto Bowl on Saturday, November 25. The Tigers lead the all-time series by a 68-42-4 count, including a 50-32-3 advantage when they play in Columbia. Carolina has won five of the last eight meetings in the series.
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