GAMEDAY College Football

South Carolina 35, Georgia State 14

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's special teams led the way toward a season-opening 35-14 victory over Georgia State.

Special teams have always been an emphasis for Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer, who watched his father, Frank, win game after game with "Beamer Ball," and its big special teams play.

The approach worked as the Gamecocks pulled away from Georgia State with 23 unanswered points in the second half.

The Gamecocks returned two blocked punts for touchdowns, new placekicker Mitch Jeter debuted by knocking two field goals of 50-plus yards and long snapper Hunter Rogers carried a fake field goal 5 yards for a first down that led to the Gamecocks' only first-half touchdown.

New quarterback Spencer Rattler took in a key two-point conversion in the third quarter to restore South Carolina's lead and it was just enough to squeak past a determined Panthers' squad that held a brief third-quarter advantage, 14-12.

The back-breaker also came in the third, when Rashad Amos blocked a Georgia State punt and DQ Smith retrieved the carom and ran it in for a touchdown.

Rattler, the former Heisman Trophy contender at Oklahoma, showed off his dynamic playmaking ability. He finished 23 of 37 passing for 226 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Following a scoreless first quarter, South Carolina sent out Jeter to attempt a 25-yard field goal. But special teams coordinator Pete Lembo's gang took over.

Long snapper Rogers took the snap and ran for just enough room for the first down. The Gamecocks lined up versatile tight end Jaheim Bell as a fullback at the goal line, then pitched to MarShawn Lloyd on the end-around for a touchdown.

A Rattler interception on the second play of the third quarter set up the Panthers' second score, a Grainger 4-yard rush to take a 14-12 lead. The Gamecocks immediately responded as Rattler hit Marshawn Lloyd for a 16-yard scoring pass to take the lead for good, 20-14.

Just over two minutes later, Rashad Amos blocked the punt and DQ Smith ran it back 26 yards for a 28-14 lead.

Later, Gamecocks' Traevon Kenion blocked a fourth-quarter punt and Ahmarean Brown took it 10 yards for the final score.


Georgia State: The Panthers will cause a lot of trouble in the Sun Belt with their rushing attack. The Gamecocks' defense mostly held them in check, but GSU won't be playing the SEC anymore.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks' offense had some creative play-calls and greatly benefited from having a talent like Rattler behind center. He escaped trouble with his legs to keep numerous plays alive. Yet its offensive line struggled to protect Rattler and the Gamecocks' runners finished with 79 yards.


Lloyd was the Gamecocks' most hyped running back recruit in a decade but tore an ACL in the first week of preseason camp two years ago and missed the season. He played in 2021 but was still very much not back to full strength.

On Saturday, he rushed for 30 yards, caught two passes for 31 yards and scored two touchdowns.


South Carolina held a halftime ceremony to honor former All-American and No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney's jersey No. 7 was added alongside the Gamecocks' four retired numbers, although his number will continue to be worn as per a 2007 university policy.

Scoring Summary
Second Quarter GaStSCar
SCar TD 13:38 MarShawn Lloyd 1 yard TD run (Mitch Jeter 2pt conversion attempt is NO GOOD) 0 6
SCar FG 6:12 Mitch Jeter 53 yard field goal 0 9
GaSt TD 4:20 Robert Lewis 17 yard TD pass from Darren Grainger (Michael Hayes Extra Point) 7 9
SCar FG 0:00 Mitch Jeter 51 yard field goal 7 12
Third Quarter GaStSCar
GaSt TD 11:43 Darren Grainger 4 yard TD run (Michael Hayes Extra Point) 14 12
SCar TD 7:20 MarShawn Lloyd 16 yard TD pass from Spencer Rattler (Spencer Rattler 2pt conversion attempt is GOOD) 14 20
SCar TD 5:12 DQ Smith 26 yard blocked punt return for TD (Jaheim Bell 2pt conversion attempt is GOOD) 14 28
Fourth Quarter GaStSCar
SCar TD 11:30 Ahmarean Brown 10 yard blocked punt return for TD (Mitch Jeter Extra Point) 14 35
Team Stats
  Georgia State South Carolina
First downs 14 18
  Rushing 7 7
  Passing 4 10
  Penalty 3 1
3rd Down Efficiency 5-17, 29% 3-14, 21%
4th down efficiency 1-3, 33% 2-2, 100%
Rushes-Yards 40-200 32-79
Passing Yards 111 226
Return Yards 4 36
Completions-Attempts-Int 7-29-1 23-37-2
Sacks-Yards Lost 0-0 3-18
Punts 9 7
Fumbles Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties - Yards 8-73 5-70
Georgia State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Grainger 7 29 111 1 1
South Carolina Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Rattler 23 37 226 1 2
Georgia State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Williams 13 76 5.8 0
M. Carroll 5 57 11.4 0
D. Grainger 11 43 3.9 1
T. Gregg 11 24 2.2 0
South Carolina Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Bell 7 39 5.6 0
M. Lloyd 11 30 2.7 1
J. McDowell 7 14 2.0 0
H. Rogers 1 5 5.0 0
D. Miller 2 3 1.5 0
S. Rattler 4 -12 -3.0 0
Georgia State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Thrash 4 70 17.5 0
J. Williams 2 24 12.0 0
R. Lewis 1 17 17.0 1
South Carolina Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Brooks 4 88 22.0 0
A. Wells Jr. 7 55 7.9 0
M. Lloyd 2 31 15.5 1
J. McDowell 3 18 6.0 0
J. Bell 4 17 4.3 0
J. Vann 1 9 9.0 0
A. Stogner 1 7 7.0 0
A. Brown 1 1 1.0 0
Georgia State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Q. White 2 5
South Carolina Interceptions
Player Int Yards
M. Dial 1 3
Georgia State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
M. Hayes 7 320 45.7
South Carolina Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
K. Kroeger 7 344 49.1
Georgia State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
South Carolina Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Vann 3 33 11.0
Georgia State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
C. Davis Jr. 1 -1 -1.0
K. Byrd 1 0 0
South Carolina Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Georgia State Missed FG
Player Length
South Carolina Missed FG
Player Length