Senior Deebo Samuel celebrated his return to the field with an all-around standout day as South Carolina opened the season Saturday by dominating Coastal Carolina 49-15 in Columbia, S.C.
The senior wide receiver/kick returner, who broke his leg in the third game last season, led the Gamecocks (1-0) with seven catches for 56 yards, rushed once for 11 yards to set up a score, and returned two kickoffs for 45 yards, punctuating his performance with a one-handed grab for a touchdown late in the third quarter.
With junior quarterback Jake Bentley completing 22 of 29 attempts to nine receivers for 250 yards and four touchdowns, the Gamecocks amassed 557 yards in total offense while holding the Sun Belt’s Chanticleers (0-1) to 238.
South Carolina running back Rico Dowdle, also coming back from a broken leg that cut short his 2017 campaign, led all rushers with 105 yards.
Under heavy pressure all day, Coastal Carolina quarterback Kilton Anderson was 11-of-13 passing but for only 91 yards while running back Marcus Outlow carried 12 times for 59 yards, 36 coming in the first half.
The Chanticleers got their only touchdown in the fourth quarter on backup quarterback Bryce Carpenter’s 8-yard pass to his high school teammate, wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh. Their other points came on freshman kicker Massimo Biscardi’s three field goals.
The Gamecocks took control early, scoring the first three times they had the ball and four of their five possessions of the first half to build a 28-3 lead.
They had 284 yards in total offense in the first two periods while holding the Chanticleers to just 69 on their five series.
Bentley accounted for 174 yards of that total on 16-of-21 passing while Dowdle had 75 yards on nine rushes. Dowdle had a touchdown on a 5-yard run and another on a 22-yard reception just 18 seconds before the intermission.
—Field Level Media