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South Carolina gets off to strong start

The SportsXchange

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina was leading North Carolina 27-10 with 8:20 remaining in the fourth quarter when a lightning delay halted play at 8:46 p.m. ET Thursday in the college football season opener.

With the weather in the area expected to clear by 10:15, play was to resume later in the evening.

The Tar Heels, who set school records for yardage and points last year in coach Larry Fedora's first season in Chapel Hill, never got on track before the delay. They were held to their lowest point total since 2011 and only managed 269 yards before play was suspended.

South Carolina, which opened the season with its highest ranking in school history at No. 6, got an impressive performance from running back Mike Davis. The sophomore had 115 yards on 10 carries with a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

North Carolina pulled within 20-10 by taking the second half kickoff and getting a 20-yard field goal by Thomas Moore to cap a 17-play drive. But Davis extended the South Carolina lead on the next play when he took a handoff, broke it outside and outraced the Tar Heels defense for the 75-yard score.

South Carolina scored on its first three series to jump to a 17-0 lead. The Gamecocks struck quickly on the third play from scrimmage with a 65-yard scoring strike from Connor Shaw to Shaq Roland.

North Carolina was forced to punt on its first series and South Carolina took a 10-0 lead on a 39-yard field goal by walk-on freshman Elliott Fry.

After another Tar Heels punt, South Carolina backup quarterback Dylan Thompson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kane Whitehurst on his first play in the game.

The Gamecocks had 203 yards of offense after its opening three drives and the Tar Heels mustered only 35 yards and one first down.

North Carolina got its offense on track with a methodical 16-play, 70-yard drive to pull to 17-7. Bryn Renner capped the march with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis.

Fry gave South Carolina a 20-7 lead at the half with a 26-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining.

NOTES: Whitehurst's touchdown catch was his first career reception. He redshirted as a freshman at Arkansas in 2011 before being dismissed from the team. ... All-American Jadeveon Clowney was credited with three tackles in the first half and no sacks. ... Renner was 13-of-21 passing for 79 yards in the first half.

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