South Carolina Rallies to Beat East Carolina 20-17 on FG
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Parker White kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired as South Carolina rallied from 14 down to beat East Carolina 20-17 on Saturday, earning its first road win under first-year coach Shane Beamer.
Damani Staley had a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown just before halftime to give the Gamecocks a needed spark after trailing 14-0 in a mistake-filled opening half. Former graduate assistant Zeb Noland also had a game-tying touchdown pass to Dakereon Joyner in the back of the end zone late in the third quarter.
In the end, the Gamecocks (2-0) did enough to give themselves a shot, then rode the legs of Juju McDowell – who gained 45 yards on six carries on South Carolina’s final 10-play drive – to set up White’s winner that had the Gamecocks spilling onto the field from the sideline to celebrate.
South Carolina won despite committing three turnovers in its first five drives, including a goal-line fumble that went through the end zone for a turnover in the first half.
Tyler Snead hit on a 75-yard trick-play touchdown pass to Jsi Hatfield on the game’s first offensive snap for the Pirates (0-2), while Holton Ahlers also ran for a short touchdown for the 14-0 lead. But East Carolina struggled to generate consistent offense, with Ahlers completing 11 of 24 passes for just 77 yards and two interceptions.
The Pirates were hosting a Southeastern Conference team for the first time since South Carolina’s last visit here in 1997.
The Gamecock defense stopped East Carolina on a 3rd-and-5 to force a punt, giving the Gamecocks the ball for its game-winning drive. Jaylan Foster and David Spaulding made the tackle to hold ECU’s Tyler Sneed to just a one-yard gain.
54 – The Gamecocks ended the game on a 10-play, 54-yard drive that ended with Parker White’s sixth career game-winning field goal. JuJu McDowell had 45 yards rushing on that final drive.
Carolina opens Southeastern Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 18 as the Gamecocks visit Athens, Ga., for a 7 p.m. kickoff against Georgia. The game will be televised on ESPN.