The Belk Kickoff game was played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. It’s the second consecutive game USC has lost in the venue to an ACC team. Virginia defeated the Gamecocks there, in the Belk Bowl in January.
UNC’s Myles Wolfork picked off USC’s Jake Bentley twice in the fourth quarter- ending any chance USC had for a win. It was North Carolina’s first win over a power-conference opponent in a season opener since beating Indiana in 1997.
Bentley, a senior, had only 142 yards passing. He missed open receivers repeatedly in the game, and failed to move the team in critical situations. USC was an 11-point favorite.
North Carolina scored on drives of 98 and 95 yards in the fourth quarter. At one point the Gamecocks were up 20-9, but USC’s defense could not stop a ferocious comeback from UNC.
The Tar Heels gained 483 of total offense, compared to 280 for the Gamecocks. Javonte Williams had 102 rushing yards while Dazz Newsome had 74 yards receiving. North Carolina also has 33:42 time of possession.
The Gamecocks open their home schedule next Saturday (Sept. 7) as Carolina hosts Charleston Southern. Kickoff is at noon and the game will be televised on SEC Network.