By Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
ORLANDO, Fla. – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier returned to the Sunshine State on Saturday, this time to take on Central Florida at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando. After fighting back from an early 10-point deficit, the Gamecocks survived a back-and-forth battle to pull out a 28-25 win over UCF.
The Gamecocks lost starting quarterback Connor Shaw early in the game due to a shoulder injury, but Dylan Thompson filled in admirably following his departure. Despite only two passing attempts from Shaw, South Carolina racked up nearly 500 yards of offense to fight off the Knights’ furious run late in the game.
Mike Davis was held in check by UCF in the first half, but the running back busted loose in the second half and ended the day with 167 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. The Knights had no answer for Davis after the break, but quarterback Blake Bortles nearly led UCF to a comeback win with 358 yards and two passing touchdowns.
Bortles hit Rannell Hall for a seven-yard touchdown with 1:54 to play, making the score 28-25 in favor of USC. UCF attempted an onside kick following the score, but the Gamecocks were able to recover and secure the road win.
Bruce Ellington provided a reliable target all day for Thompson in Shaw’s absence, hauling in four passes for 88 yards. Hall ended the day with 142 yards and two scores for UCF in the loss.
Passing – Dylan Thompson, 15-for-32, 261 yards, INT
Rushing – Mike Davis, 26 car, 167 yards, 3 TD
Receiving – Bruce Ellington, 4 rec, 88 yards
Passing – Blake Bortles, 25-for-36, 358 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing – Storm Johnson, 17 car, 68 yards, TD
Receiving – Rannell Hall, 8 rec, 142 yards, 2 TD
• South Carolina has now won 17 consecutive non-conference regular season games.
• The Gamecocks have an 11-game win streak against non-conference opponents overall (including bowl games).
• South Carolina is 3-0 all-time against UCF. The last meeting came on Sept. 1, 2009 in Steve Spurrier’s first career game at USC.
• This was South Carolina’s first trip to UCF. The Knights are set to return to Columbia in 2015.