The Gamecocks were down to their No. 3 quarterback midway through the second quarter, but created 450 yards and had no turnovers by sticking to the things both of their available quarterbacks do best.
Eli Jenkins started, and with him in the game, the Gamecocks kept things moving on the ground.
When Kyle West replaced him, they used his game-management skills to stay in control and put up 24 points. He tossed a couple of touchdowns and completed 11 of 17 throws.
Dependable running back DaMarcus James rushed for 126 yards, and he even uncoiled his throwing arm, completing a 36-yarder on a halfback pass.
The Gamecocks brought tons of pressure against Tech’s offensive line and run-oriented quarterback Darian Stone, ultimately holding the Golden Eagles to 280 yards.
They blitzed by the formation Tech showed and were credited with four sacks that seemed a lot more.
They established their dominance early, holding Tech to 20 yards in the first quarter and fewer than 150 yards in the first half.
This one was fun to watch if you liked punters.
The game featured the top two in the league and two of the top three place-kickers, and they lived up to their billing.
Jacksonville State’s Hamish MacInnes went toe-to-toe with Tennessee Tech punter Chad Zinchini and outpunted him by an average of 3.1 yards. MacInnes was helped by a school-record 86-yard punt, while Zinchini was hurt by a 7-yard kick into the wind.
MacInnes also held on placements and got down a bad snap on Thomas’ first field goal. Thomas kicked field goals of 44 and 47 yards.
The Gamecocks had an open date last week to salve the wounds of a homecoming loss and made the most of it.
They worked the players early in the week, concentrating largely on fundamentals, gave them the rest of the week off to regain their legs. They pulled off a trick play early in the game.
In a nutshell, the plan worked.
The Gamecocks in recent years under the previous staff struggled in the game back from an open date, but they got their season back on track in a game they were expected to win.
They can continue moving forward next week at Austin Peay in a game in which they’ll be prohibitive favorites