North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams did it to himself Thursday.
The former Mallard Creek star threw three interceptions while the Tar Heels were in the red zone, two into the end zone, as South Carolina held on for a 17-13 season-opening college football victory at Bank of America Stadium.
The Tar Heels moved the ball from deep in their own territory after holding the Gamecocks on 4th-and-1. But with about 3 1/2 minutes left, Williams was picked off by middle linebacker Skai Moore. It was the second interception by Moore.
The Tar Heels went scoreless in the second half after taking a 13-10 halftime lead on Nick Weiler’s 38-yard field goal.
3 who mattered
Shon Carson: The Gamecocks’ third-string tailback didn’t get a carry until the second half, but he went untouched to the end zone on a 48-yard run for the deciding score.
Pharoh Cooper: South Carolina’s receiver/wildcat quarterback scrambled all over the field to turn what looked like a sure sack into a first down. He had four rushes for 20 yards and three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. He completed one pass, which lost six yards.
Elijah Hood: The former Charlotte Catholic star ripped off a 44-yard run in the third quarter for the Tar Heels. He finished with 138 yards on 12 carries.
▪ It had to be perplexing to Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier that his offense committed a delay-of-game penalty heading into the first play of the game. How does that happen?
▪ Spurrier hates to punt. So he wasn’t reluctant to let punter Sean Kelly take off down the right sideline on a fourth-and-long. The run gained 17 yards and a first down.
▪ Hood is finally healthy at tailback for the Tar Heels. He looks much fresher than he did last season.
▪ It was 91 degrees and muggy at kickoff. The number of leg cramps for both teams reflected rough playing conditions.
▪ The Charlotte Sports Foundation announced that Grammy winner Carrie Underwood will perform at the Belk Bowl in December.
▪ Based on school colors, the crowd had far more Gamecocks fans than Tar Heels fans.
▪ Spurrier didn’t last to halftime without throwing his clipboard to the ground. It came after quarterback Connor Mitch couldn’t connect with Pharoh Cooper in the end zone in the second quarter.
They said it
“Skai can pick the ball off. He has that knack for reading the quarterback. ...We’re pleased to have won the ball game, but we’re not strutting out of here.” – Spurrier on feeling fortunate to have played poorly and won.