South Carolina beats Alabama-Birmingham 49-6, improves to 3-0
COLUMBIA – Eighth-ranked South Carolina beat Alabama-Birmingham 49-6 Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium, giving Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier his 200th victory as a college head coach.
The game was Spurrier’s 365th as a head coach and 277th as a college head coach. Spurrier became the 22nd coach in Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) history to win 200 games and the 71st in all of college football history.
South Carolina (3-0) hosts Missouri at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday as the Gamecocks begin the meat of their Southeastern Conference schedule. They are 1-0 in the SEC, having defeated Vanderbilt in the season opener. UAB (0-2) travels to Ohio State next week.
The Gamecocks now have to be concerned again about the status of quarterback Connor Shaw. He aggravated a right (throwing) shoulder injury with 1:44 left in the first half, when he was hit as he completed a 20-yard pass. Shaw writhed on the grass and was helped off.
Dylan Thompson played in Shaw’s place until third-stringer Seth Strickland entered with11:03 left. It was uncertain before the game if Shaw or Thompson would start. Shaw was an announced as the starter on the pregame video presentation, drawing a big cheer from the crowd.
Shaw suffered a deep bone bruise to his shoulder in the Aug. 30 season opener at Vanderbilt. He returned to that game, but hadn’t played since. Thompson played in his place in last week’s win over East Carolina – Thompson’s first career start.
The Gamecocks pulled away in the first half, after which they led 21-6.
They went up 7-3 when free safety D.J. Swearinger returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown. The ball simply slipped out of UAB quarterback Jonathan Perry’s hands as he dropped back to pass and tried to elude a blitz. It landed right in Swearinger’s grasp.
On the Gamecocks’ next drive, they marched 64 yards in nine plays and 3:34 for a 16-yard touchdown pass to Ace Sanders. On their final possession of the half, they needed to go just 37 yards for a touchdown after a 19-yard punt by UAB. Marcus Lattimore’s 2-yard touchdown run – on the play after Shaw got hurt – put South Carolina up 21-6.
Spurrier said before the game that he considers his true 200th win to be his 200th overall victory, counting his time in the United States Football League and NFL. That came in 2006 over Kentucky. Spurrier debuted as a head coach in 1983 with the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits. His overall head coaching record is now 247-116-2. He is 200-75-2 in college games.
NOTES: Saturday was the Gamecocks’ second straight game against a Conference USA opponent. They beat East Carolina 48-10 last week. … South Carolina won its seventh straight game, two shy of tying the school record, set in 1984. … UAB is now 0-2 all time against South Carolina, having also lost in 2003 and 2008 in Columbia. … South Carolina also lost wide receiver Bruce Ellington to a sprained right shoulder in the third quarter. He did not return. He had five catches for 98 yards Saturday, with a long of 43 yards. … Thompson’s 94-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd in the third quarter was the fourth-longest completion in South Carolina history.