Freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski passed for 282 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another score as South Carolina rebounded from a season-opening defeat to win its home opener in dominating fashion over Charleston Southern 72-10 on Saturday.
Freshman running back Kevin Harris had 147 yards on the ground with three TDs in the nonconference victory, while Mon Denson had 118 yards rushing with one TD. Rico Dowdle added two TDs on the ground as the Gamecocks set a school record with 775 yards in total offense.
Hilinski, who took over at quarterback after starter Jake Bentley came away with a left foot injury during last weekend’s loss against North Carolina, completed his first 12 passes and scored on a 4-yard run on the Gamecocks’ third possession. A highly coveted four-star recruit from Southern California, he was 24 of 30 in the air with one interception in his first career start.
The victory gives the Gamecocks (1-1) some momentum heading into next weekend’s home SEC matchup against No. 2 Alabama. South Carolina defeated a top-ranked Alabama team the last time the schools met in 2010.
The Gamecocks scored on seven of their eight first-half possessions to take a 44-3 lead into halftime, while gaining 448 yards in the opening two quarters, compared to 85 for Charleston Southern.
Quarterback Jack Chambers had 116 yards passing and backup QB Ross Malmgren had a fourth-quarter TD pass for Charleston Southern (0-2), which had a long week after its campus was shut down Sunday in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival.
Without enough hotel rooms available in Columbia, where the South Carolina campus is located, the team stayed in Charlotte, N.C., and made a 90-minute one-way commute each day for practice.
The Buccaneers, from the Big South Conference, are now 0-21 against FBS opponents and 0-8 against the SEC. It was the first-ever meeting between the schools.
—Field Level Media