COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski completed 24 of 30 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns in his first start for South Carolina, leading the Gamecocks to a 72-10 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday.
South Carolina (1-1) mostly kept it simple for Hilinski against the FCS Buccaneers with plenty of screens, short passes and handoffs.
Hilinski did hit Bryan Edwards in stride for a 60-yard touchdown pass and looked like a freshman in the third quarter when he was rushed and sailed a pass for his one interception.
But overall, it was a fine debut for the freshman, who took over for senior Jake Bentley after the senior broke his foot on the final play of last week's loss to North Carolina . Things get exponentially harder next week with No. 2 Alabama coming to town.
Hilinski is the younger brother of the late Tyler Hilinski , the Washington State quarterback who killed himself last year. The crowd chanted "Let's go Ryan!" during his first two drives.
Edwards caught five passes for 112 yards. Mon Denson ran nine times for 118 yards and a touchdown and Rico Dowdle had 10 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
The Gamecocks set a school record gaining 775 yards. The 493 yards rushing is also now a school record.
South Carolina's defense held the Buccaneers (0-2) to 267 yards — just 85 of them coming in the first half. Charleston Southern lost yards on the opening play of four of its seven first half drives.
The Gamecocks put in reserves after leading 44-3 at the break. At one point in the third quarter, they played four freshmen in the defensive backfield, including Shilo Sanders, son of NFL great Deion Sanders.
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Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers took away $400,000 for their athletic programs. They also got to use South Carolina's athletic facilities for a week after Hurricane Dorian passed close by and chased them from campus.
South Carolina: The lower division Buccaneers helped soothe some frazzled Gamecocks nerves after the opening loss to North Carolina. But whether it shows a team getting it together remains to be seen. The 72 points were the most in Will Muschamp's four season coaching South Carolina and the most for the Gamecocks since beating Kent State 77-14 in 1995.
Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers host North Carolina A&T next Saturday
South Carolina: The Gamecocks open Southeastern Conference play hosting No. 2 Alabama next Saturday. Something that will be said a lot next week — the last time the Crimson Tide lost to a SEC East team was 35-21 against South Carolina in Columbia in 2010.