Gamecocks Strong Start Enough To Hold Off GMA

Columbia, S.C. - The University of South Carolina junior varsity football team defeated Georgia Military on Sunday afternoon 31-17 at Williams Brice Stadium in front of 852 fans. The win is the second straight for the USC JV against the Bulldogs. Last season, Carolina held off a late rally to win 31-30...

The Gamecocks were guided by quarterback Mike Rathe who went four of seven for 61 yards and two touchdowns all in the first quarter. Rathe completed a 23-yard pass on Carolina's first drive of the game to David Smith to give USC a 7-0 lead. The Gamecock defense would then come up with a fumble which resulted in a 36-yard field goal by Charlie Carpenter. The Gamecocks then forced another Bulldog turnover which resulted in another connection in the air from Mike Rathe to David Smith to increase the USC lead to 17-0 in the first quarter.

"We got good field position early on and the defense set the tone early," said Mike Rathe. "With the turnovers, we capitalized on them. David Smith ran well after catching the pass and the line gave me enough time to find an open receiver."

Georgia Military came back, recovering two straight fumbles on punt returns to set them up in good field position. Antroun McDaniel scored on both of those possessions from runs of four and 13 yards out to cut the Gamecock lead to 17-14.

The Gamecocks came back with their air attack as Blake Mitchell completed a 63-yard pass to D'von Hill to put USC ahead 24-14 with 3:38 remaining in the half. Georgia Military looked to cut in the lead before halftime and they got some help from the USC defense as the Gamecocks were called on a personal foul face mask after a 10-yard run by Bulldog quarterback Ferlando Williams. The Bulldogs kicked a 42 -yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock to cut the deficit to seven.

In the second half, both team's defenses set in as only seven points were scored in the final half. The Gamecocks were led by Brett Nichols on a 90-yard, 12-play drive that took six minutes and 39 second off the clock and to give Carolina a 31-17 lead. The drive was capped off by a 16-yard Nichols run.

On defense, the Gamecocks were led by the presence of Curtis Rice, and David Laggis. Rice totaled six tackles, two pass deflections, and one fumble recovery. Laggis, who recently moved from tight end to defensive end also provided a stellar performance with seven tackles, two sacks, and a fumble recovery.

"It feels good to get out here and win a game," said Curtis Rice. "We weren't really prepared for some of the things that they did but we did a good job adjusting to it and most of all we came out and had fun. Hopefully this will help us out (the younger players) and give us some momentum going into Tennessee."

The Gamecocks will host Tennessee next Saturday at 12:30 at Williams-Brice Stadium.

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