Big plays highlight scrimmage

South Carolina held their second scrimmage of the fall Wednesday night. Big plays on both sides of the ball highlighted the scrimmage with the offense throwing three long touchdown passes and the defense scoring one of their own. Following the scrimmage, head coach Steve Spurrier met with the media.

The South Carolina football team held their second scrimmage of the fall Wednesday night at Williams-Brice Stadium and had the fans in attendance cheering from the beginning. On the very first play of the scrimmage, Connor Shaw hit Jason Barnes - who had beaten C.C. Whitlock - in stride streaking down the middle for a 70-yard touchdown pass.

Shaw would later find Damiere Byrd streaking down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown over Cadarious Sanders and Sheldon Royster.

"He threw some good long balls," head coach Steve Spurrier said of Shaw. "We hit some deep balls today. Damiere Byrd got another long one, Jason Barnes got one, and Ace Sanders."

That pass to Byrd would be the last throw Shaw would make. Shaw injured his thumb on the play and left the scrimmage. He later returned wearing a brace on that throwing hand to protect the thumb.

"Connor Shaw got his thumb hit on a helmet or hand or something and his thumb kind of popped out of joint briefly, but he got it back in," Spurrier said. "He said that's happened before and it doesn't bother him. Hopefully he'll be okay in two or three days."

For Byrd, it was just another long touchdown pass that has occurred practically every day since fall camp opened up.

"Damiere gets a deep one about every day," Spurrier said. "Don't tell anybody - we're trying to keep him a secret before the season starts."

Shaw got the start over Stephen Garcia, but fans shouldn't read much into that at all. It's just standard preseason scrimmage procedure between the two quarterbacks.

"He (Shaw) was scheduled to start the scrimmage," Spurrier said. "He was supposed to start the scrimmage. Stephen started the last one so Connor played with the guys Stephen played with the last scrimmage, and Stephen played with the guys that Connor played with last scrimmage. We're trying to get a good evaluation on them. That's what that meant."

Shaw finished the day 6-of-11 for 192 yards - 150 of those yards coming on his two touchdown passes - and was intercepted once by Corey Addison. Shaw was throwing it up in the direction of DeAngelo Smith in the end zone on the second drive, but D.J. Swearinger batted it up in the air and Addison came away with racing down the sidelines. His return abruptly ended about 60 yards into the run when Rokevious Watkins nearly knocked him into the stands. That would be one of three interceptions the defense would record, and they also recovered a fumble after not recording one in last week's scrimmage.

"Our defense had a lot of good plays here and there," Spurrier said. "They were hustling around."

Garcia's first play from scrimmage would also result in a touchdown, but not the kind Garcia hoped to have. Facing pressure from Jadeveon Clowney, Garcia dropped to pump fake and the ball came out of his hands pulling the ball back. It was ruled a fumble - which would have likely been overturned if there was a review in scrimmages - and Clowney picked it up for his first touchdown in the Garnet and Black.

"Stephen had one (fumble) there," Spurrier said. "The ball dropped out of his hand - he started to throw it and stopped. They called it a fumble and Jadeveon picked it up and trotted into the end zone with it. Stephen's got to quit starting to throw the ball and then stopping."

Despite the slow start Garcia would rebound to have a nice scrimmage. Garcia finished by completing 8-of-13 passes for 128 yards and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Ace Sanders. Sanders faked a curl and circled back around the defender and was wide open in the end zone.

"Stephen threw some good balls there at the end," Spurrier said.

Spurrier would pull a trick play from his bag of tricks with Sanders catching a pass from Garcia and then finding Smith coming across the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown.

K.J. Brent would get the last big play from scrimmage, beating Sharrod Golightly for a 43-yard score from Dylan Thompson, who finished the scrimmage 8-of-15 for 92 yards

Shon Carson had another good day running the ball, again topping the charts in rushing yards. Carson had six carries for 42 yards and an impressive 16-yard touchdown run in the overtime portion of the practice, stopping on a dime and weaving through the defense. Carson also caught two passes for 16 yards.

Brandon Wilds finished with four carries for 33 yards and Kenny Miles had 11 yards on five carries.

Barnes led the receivers with three catches - on the first three passing plays of the scrimmage - for 83 yards and a touchdown, Byrd finished with one reception for 80 yards and a touchdown, Brent finished with three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, and Smith finished with three catches for 50 yards and one touchdown. Lamar Scruggs, Sanders, and Carson each had two catches, and D.L. Moore, Justice Cunningham, Nick Jones, Payton Brady, Miles, Rory Anderson, Bruce Ellington, Eric Baker, and Josh Hinch all had one reception.

The offense totaled 494 yards of offense and six touchdowns.

"It was a pretty good scrimmage," Spurrier said. "We had some encouraging plays, but we had some sorry ones also.

"We're a long way off," the head ball coach continued. "We're just practicing away - making a lot of errors and trying to get better - but we still have a bit to go. We're still two weeks away so we don't need to be ready yet."

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