Gamecocks Lay an Egg in the Belk Bowl

Dick Cox

December 30, 2018 at 12:08 pm.

Dec 29, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (4) and wide receiver Ben Hogg (18) pose for a picture after defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks in the 2018 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Photo Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (4) and wide receiver Ben Hogg (18) pose for a picture after defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks in the 2018 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Photo Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers dominated nearly every phase of the game on their way to a 28-0 shut out win over the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Belk Bowl.

Virginia compiled 413 yards of total offense and held South Carolina’s explosive offense to a season-low 261 yards. The Gamecocks were shut out for the first time since 2006. The Cavaliers put together four long scoring drives, dominating time of possession 42:35 to 17:25. They were 11 of 17 on third down conversions, while South Carolina was just 2 of 13 on third down conversions and 2 of 5 on fourth down attempts.

The inability to contain Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins and stop the Cavaliers on third down were the keys to the game. Perkins threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 81 yards. He threw three touchdown passes to Olamide Zaccheaus, the game’s Most Outstanding Player. Zaccheaus had 12 catches for 100 yards and Jordan Ellis ran for 106 yards and a touchdown. Perkins said he felt chemistry with Zaccheaus the first day he transferred in last year from Arizona Western Community College — and his favorite target agreed.

“The biggest thing with me and Bryce is we get along so well off the field — and that just carries over,” Zaccheaus said. “Even when I might not make a play or he might not make a play, it’s like, `Who wants it on the next play?’ We’re the same that way.”The Gamecocks had several opportunities to score but came up short on key plays and turned the ball over twice. Trailing 7-0, they missed a field goal early in the second quarter and saw another scoring opportunity vanish when quarterback Jake Bentley threw an incomplete pass on 4th and goal at the Virginia 11-yard line with the Gamecocks trailing 21-0.

After the game Gamecocks Coach Wil Muschamp expressed his disappointment and frustration.

“I’m disappointed with the performance,” he said. “I appreciate our fan base. We sold all of our allotment of tickets and we didn’t put on a good show. That’s on me. I apologize to them. … I wish we’d played better … again that’s on me.”

Muschamp went on to say, “I felt like we were ready to go. It was a 14-0 game at halftime. We moved the ball offensively in the first half. The game swung, to me, in the third quarter on the three-and-out on offense. The ball is at the 40-yard-line going in and we had two critical situations on third downs to make stops and we don’t make stops.”

South Carolina offensive lineman Donell Stanley sensed early on that the Gamecocks did not have the right mindset.

“It was a bad day, wrong mindset,” Stanley said. “I felt like we had real good days of practice, but our mindset wasn’t there. That wasn’t the South Carolina we have seen all year.”

South Carolina played without leading receiver Deebo Samuel and several starters on defense.The Gamecocks finished the season at 7-6 (4-4 in the SEC). Virginia completed the season at 8-5.

South Carolina will return to Bank of America Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019 to face border state rival North Carolina in a neutral site game. This was South Carolina’s first loss in Bank of America Stadium. The Gamecocks had won regular-season games there in 2011, 2015 and 2017.

Watch the postgame video here