On Thursday August 29, the South Carolina defense dominated the North Carolina Tarheels. The final score was 27-10, but it was much more than that. The prevailing thought was that North Carolina should be able to move the ball against the Gamecocks and score quite a few points. In fact, it was the exact opposite. This is the same Tarheel team that averaged 40 points last season.
While pundits are claiming Jadeveon Clowney lost the Heisman on the first night, Bryn Renner never joined the discussion. Renner completed 26 passes for a pedestrian 194 yards and one touchdown. Remember this performance when Renner throws 30 plus touchdowns and is mentioned for Heisman consideration. There were times during the game that the North Carolina quarterback was running for his life.
South Carolina took control of the game early while asserting their dominance. After two strong runs, the Gamecocks went over the top with 65 yard picture perfect touchdown throw from Connor Shaw to Shaq Roland. In a blink of an eye it was 7-0. By the end of the first quarter it was 17-0 and the game was virtually over.
North Carolina tried to make a game of it with a chip shot field goal, but South Carolina answered quickly with a 75 yard Mike Davis run off tackle. Davis showed brilliant speed down the right sideline when he out ran the UNC secondary.
The first thing to notice about the South Carolina defense is how fast they are. North Carolina has talent and it looked like there were some big plays to be had, but the speed of the Gamecocks shut it down quickly.
In the first quarter, Clowney was all over the field, and got pressure on the quarterback. He forced a Renner bounce pass to a wide open receiver, but his best play may have been when he split a double team on a swing pass to the weak side. For all the hate and criticism he received, Clowney and the defense played a great game. Remember, they held North Carolina to 10 points.
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