ORLANDO, Fla. -- Mike Davis ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns as No. 12 South Carolina overcame the loss of starting quarterback Connor Shaw to defeat Central Florida 28-25 on Saturday.
Davis scored all three touchdowns in the second half to help South Carolina rally from a 10-0 halftime deficit.
The Gamecocks lost Shaw to a sprained shoulder on their first possession of the game. His replacement, Dylan Thompson, completed 15 of 32 passes for 263 yards and scored on a 2-yard run.
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles completed 25 of 36 passes for 358 yards and two touchdown passes to Rannell Hall. However, Bortles lost a fumble and had two passes intercepted.
South Carolina, which averaged 224 rushing yards in the first three games, gained just 45 yards on 11 carries in the first half.
But the Gamecocks changed the tempo immediately in the second half. South Carolina stayed on the ground for all four plays of a 75-yard touchdown drive to start the third quarter. Davis gained 70 yards in three rushes on that drive, including a 53-yard scoring run.
He picked up 150 yards on 21 carries in the second half as the Gamecocks ran for 195 yards on 32 attempts.
Thompson put the Gamecocks ahead 14-10 when he scrambled into the end zone on a third-and-goal play from the 2-yard line. That finished off a 97-yard drive, the longest this season for South Carolina, and put UCF behind for the first time in four games this season.
South Carolina's Jimmy Legree intercepted a double-pass attempt by UCF wideout Jeff Godfrey, a former quarterback, on the next possession and the Gamecocks were back in business at the Knights' 34-yard line.
Thompson converted a fourth-and-1 on a quarterback sneak and two plays later Davis scored from 13 yards out to make it 21-10.
Davis scored on another 13-yard run to push the advantage to 28-10 before UCF staged a late rally behind Bortles and Hall.
The junior quarterback connected with Hall on a 73-yard scoring pass and hit him again from seven yards out with just under two minutes left in the game, but the Knights couldn't recover the onside kick. South Carolina ran out the clock to claim the win.
UCF controlled most of the first half but didn't have much to show for it. The Knights recovered one fumble, intercepted a pass, partially blocked a punt and knocked Shaw out of the game. The Knights' offense moved the ball consistently against South Carolina but led just 10-0 at halftime.
Bortles, who was 15 of 20 for 136 yards in the half, made two big mistakes that stymied the offense. He tripped over center Joey Grant's foot on a third-and-2 play from the South Carolina 8-yard line that resulted in a 4-yard loss and was intercepted by Victor Hampton with the Knights driving at the South Carolina 35-yard line late in the second quarter.
NOTES: The Gamecocks lost TB Brandon Wilds to an elbow strain the third quarter. ... When Geral Dixon recovered Bortles' fumble early in the fourth quarter, it was the first fumble lost by the Knights this season. ... South Carolina safety Brison Williams was initially ejected for a targeting foul on UCF receiver Jeff Godfrey in the second quarter, but the ejection was reversed after referees watched the replay. Williams actually hit Godfrey in the shoulder, not the head. ... UCF kicker Shawn Moffitt is 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts this season. ... South Carolina is 4-0 against UCF and has won 18 straight games against nonconference opponents.