Quarterback Gordon Beckham passed for 195 yards and one touchdown and tailback Johnnie Wright ran for 115 yards today to lead South Carolina to a 31-13 upset over third-ranked and previously undefeated North Carolina.
The Gamecocks (5-3) scored on their first possession after an 80-yard drive when Kent Hagood ran seven yards for a touchdown. They scored again in the closing seconds of the first quarter after recovering a fumble by North Carolina quarterback Rod Elkins. Todd Berry completed the Gamecocks' 45-yard drive with his touchdown from the two.
Beckham completed 16 of 17 passes, including a three-yard touchdown pass to DeWayne Chiver. The Gamecock offense gained 361 yards against North Carolina.
The South Carolina defense helped end the Tar Heels' 10-game winning streak by holding North Carolina to 176 yards rushing and forcing five turnovers -- three interceptions and two fumbles.
"South Carolina just has a very strong defense. They did a good job," said Tar Heel Coach Dick Crum.
"We had a lot of adversity," he added, noting that players such as Kelvin Bryant, the nation's leading scorer, Elkins, running back Tyrone Anthony and defensive standout Darrell Nicholson either were on the sideline with injuries before the game or were hurt during the game.
"I'm glad we don't have to practice right now," Crum said. "I don't think we would have enough people."
North Carolina (6-1) scored on a 19-yard pass from substitute quarterback Scott Stankavage to Larry Griffin, and Jeff Hayes' 70-yard run on a fake punt attempt. Stankavage came in after Elkins suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter.
North Carolina's only long drive in the first quarter was halted when cornerback Troy Thomas intercepted an Elkins pass at South Carolina's 32.
The Gamecocks also recovered a fumble by Sammy Johnson and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter to stop North Carolina drives.
"My (offensive) coaches' plan was just to go ahead with the pitch sweep and the pass," said South Carolina Coach Jim Carlen.