Thompson fills in nicely for the Gamecocks

Thompson fills in nicely for the Gamecocks

Backup QB Dylan Thompson steps in for South Carolina and leads them to victory over Clemson. The redshirt sophomore throws for 310 yards and three touchdowns in the 27-17 win over the Clemson Tigers.

There was a chance the Gamecocks would have to rely on backup quarterback Dylan Thompson against the Clemson Tigers.

At the beginning of the week, South Carolina's starting quarterback Connor Shaw was battling a foot injury that kept him out of practice until Wednesday. Shaw finally took part in practice and appeared like he would be in line to start against the Tigers this weekend.

As it turns out, Spurrier knew on Wednesday who his starter would be.

His name?

Dylan Thompson.

It appears that knowing he was the starter earlier this week gave Dylan Thompson all the confidence he needed to help lead South Carolina to another victory over arch-rival Clemson with a 27-17 victory on the road at Clemson.

Thompson's performance on Saturday was one for the ages. Thompson finished the game with 310 yards and three touchdowns on 23-of-41 passing attempts. He did throw an interception, which at the time appeared to be one that could come back to haunt the Gamecocks, but the backup quarterback found a way down the stretch to lead South Carolina to a score midway through the fourth quarter on a long, sustained drive that essential put the game away for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina started on the Gamecocks' 35-yard at an interception by Brison Williams of Tajh Boyd gave the Gamecocks back the ball after their own turnover. With Kenny Miles on the sideline, Mike Davis came in right away with a big 26-yard run on first down.

Dylan Thompson would then take over, not with his arm, but with his legs as he ran the ball four times including a big third down conversion on third and 19 from the Clemson 26-yard line. The Gamecocks drew up the quarterback keeper and Thompson took off running showcasing some speed and ability to run the ball that most people associate with Connor Shaw.

The play kept the drive alive and Thompson would eventually find his target, Bruce Ellington, in the back of the end zone after scrambling around to keep the play alive. It was Thompson's third touchdown pass of the day and quite possibly the sweetest as it sealed the fate of the Tigers on this cold November night.

Spurrier mentioned after the game that Thompson was ready to play and play well this week.

"He played pretty well," said Spurrier on Thompson. "He was ready to play. He wanted to play. Connor's not been able to practice all week."

Thompson hasn't seen the time that Connor Shaw has seen during his career at South Carolina but he's got the ability to play well thanks to a fearless attitude in his approach to the game.

"For a guy that hasn't played much, he had a pretty good game. He's not afraid to play."

At halftime, Coach Spurrier said during an interview that we could see Connor Shaw play in the second half of the game against Clemson. At the time, South Carolina was trailing Clemson 14-10 but Thompson had performed well with 164 yards on 11-of-18 passing attempts and one touchdown.

We all know the rest of the story.

Thompson closed out the comeback for the Gamecocks as the team finished strong in the second half behind his arm and Spurrier realized that they didn't want to mess with a good thing. Spurrier did say Shaw was able to play, but wanted to let Thompson try to finish it off.

"We thought Dylan was playing well enough to try to finish it off."

You couldn't ask for a better performance on Saturday night.

The four-peat is intact for South Carolina and it's all because of Dylan Thompson.

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