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Columbia, SC

Gamecocks shine during blowout in Beamer's debut

14 days ago
AP

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina coach turned quarterback Zeb Noland threw for four touchdowns on 13 completions as the Gamecocks beat Eastern Illinois 46-0 on Saturday night.

It was the debut for South Carolina coach Shane Beamer. He promised "Beamer Ball" just like his dad Frank Beamer played at Virginia Tech and his team delivered, holding the Panthers (0-2) to 109 yards and getting its first shutout in 13 years,

The Gamecocks version of Beamer Ball blocked two punts, picked off two passes with one going back for a 61-yard touchdown, ran a successful two-point trick play with the kicking team on the field after their first touchdown, converted all three fourth downs it tried including a fourth-and-goal from the 3, had two sacks and hit hard.

"People talk about Beamer Ball - that's what it was. You have the ability to score on offense, defense or special teams no matter who is on the field. We want to have that mentality," Shane Beamer said.

Beamer, 44, brought joy and enthusiasm to a team that had lost six in a row and 11 of its past 14 games - at least for a night and against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent.

Beamer won his opener with an unusual quarterback. Noland came to Columbia this spring to be a graduate assistant after playing seven games for North Dakota State in a season delayed to spring 2021 because of COVID-19.

Chris Katrenick was 13-for-22 for 78 yards and Tyler Hamilton caught five passes for 32 yards for Eastern Illinois.

GAME CHANGER

Jaheim Bell caught a 3-yard pass from Zeb Noland with 5:04 left in the first, giving Carolina a 15-0 lead on its way to the shutout of the Panthers. It was Bell's first career touchdown.

KEY STAT

129 - ZaQuandre White led the Gamecocks with 129 yards rushing and a touchdown, including a 63-yard touchdown run with 10:24 left in the game. White also had 39 yards passing, leading the Gamecocks in that category as well.

UP NEXT

Carolina makes its first road trip in 2021 as the Gamecocks travel to Greenville, N.C., to face East Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 11 with a noon kickoff. The game will be televised on ESPN2.