South Carolina all-purpose threat Deebo Samuel scored three touchdowns to lead the Gamecocks to a 28-3 win over Akron in a makeup game on a soggy Saturday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.
Competing in his final game at Williams-Brice Stadium, the senior caught a pair of touchdowns from quarterback Jake Bentley and recovered a fumble in the end zone in the first half as the Gamecocks (7-5) led 28-3 over the Zips (4-8) at the break.
The two teams sought a makeup game after September cancellations. South Carolina lost its Sept. 15 home contest against Marshall due to Hurricane Florence’s path. Akron’s Sept. 1 meeting with Nebraska was wiped out by nasty weather in Lincoln.
Bryan Edwards, who finished with 109 yards on five catches, also caught a touchdown for the Gamecocks, though the offense produced just 384 yards against Akron after putting up 600 in a 56-35 road loss against rival Clemson last Saturday.
The makeup game marked the first time since 1990 that South Carolina closed the regular season against a school other than Clemson.
Bentley finished 14 of 27 for 199 yards with three TDs and two interceptions, eclipsing 7,000 yards passing for his career. Mon Denson rushed for a game-high 110 yards on 17 carries.
Coach Will Muschamp posted his 22nd win at South Carolina, breaking a tie with former coach Steve Spurrier for the most wins by a South Carolina coach over his first three seasons.
Oddly, the Gamecocks finished their back-and-forth regular season with consecutive wins or losses on just one occasion — in SEC victories over Tennessee and Ole Miss in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively.
Akron scored on Nick Gasser’s 45-yard field goal in the first quarter as the Zips lost their fifth straight game to close out head coach Terry Bowden’s seventh season at the MAC school.
Playing in steady rain that began three hours before kickoff, the Gamecocks scored when Bentley flipped the ball in the backfield to Samuel, who ran in for a 15-yard TD five and a half minutes after the opening kickoff.
After Gasser’s field goal, South Carolina added on three plays later when Bentley found Edwards wide open behind busted coverage for a 70-yard TD reception, making it 14-3 with 3:01 left in the first quarter.
A bad snap on an Akron punt found its way into the end zone, and Samuel emerged with the ball for the fumble recovery at 8:09 of the second quarter. Less than seven minutes later, the playmaker caught a 5-yard slant from Bentley for the 28-3 halftime lead.
The teams played a scoreless second half as they combined to turn the ball over four times.
—Field Level Media