COLUMBIA - Forget Anthony Wright. Forget Marcus Crandell. Even forget Duce Staley.
This game belonged to Scott Harley. As in Davidson.
East Carolina's sophomore fullback rushed 40 times for a school-record 291 yards as the Pirates defeated South Carolina 23-7 at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday night.
It was just a bad night all the way around for the Gamecocks.
It started pouring in the second quarter, sending most of the 79,806 scurrying for cover and their cars.
The game clock went out in the third quarter.
Wright, the sophomore quarterback who had been sensational in his first two starts for USC, struggled all night, throwing his first career interception and fumbling four exchanges.
Not even Staley, the reliable Gamecock tailback, could save USC.
The Pirates improved to 2-1 and have now defeated the Gamecocks two straight times and four of the past five times the two schools have met.
USC, trying to match its best start since 1990, fell to 2-1 heading into next week's game with Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State.
Harley, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound sophomore fullback from Neptune, N.J., proved to be unstoppable from the start, bringing back memories of last year, when Georgia's Robert Edwards, Arkansas' Madre Hill and Kentucky's Moe Williams ran wild through the Gamecock defense.
Harley had 115 yards at the end of the first quarter and 147 by halftime, slicing easily through the Gamecock offense for huge chunks of yardage.
He was just getting started.
Harley, who came into the game with 218 yards for the season, carried the ball on the first five plays of the third quarter and promptly gave the Pirates a 16-7 lead when he rambled into the end zone from 13 yards out just 1:32 into the second half.
With Crandell ineffective throughout most of the game, Harley was slowed for just a little while late in the third quarter and early in the fourth when the Gamecocks began keying on him.
He, however, exploded on a drive in the fourth quarter, leading the Pirates to another touchdown, a 2-yard pass from Crandell to Thomson High product Alphonso Collins.
Collins, who has moved from linebacker to defensive tackle to tight end since spring practice, was alone in the end zone and cradled the soft toss from Crandell for his first career reception and score.
If not for their defense, the Gamecocks would have been in severe trouble at halftime, instead of trailing by just three points.
The Gamecocks had three goal-line stands in the first half alone, holding the Pirates to only three points.
East Carolina was held to just one field goal on those three journeys inside the USC 10-yard line, missing its second field goal attempt and being thwarted on a fake late in the second quarter.
NOTES: It was a tough day for North Augusta High's representatives. East Carolina tight end Scott Richards had a high pass go through his hands in the end zone on the Pirates' first drive and they had to settle for a field goal. He dropped another pass on the second drive and the Pirates came away with no points after missing field goal. Richards came into the came with eight catches in two games. South Carolina fullback Steve Mixon, another North Augustan, dropped a pass late in the first quarter. .°.°. Two of the remaining few fans ran onto the field at halftime, but were quickly corralled by security personnel. .°.°. The Gamecocks wore all Garnet uniforms for the second consecutive game, the first time in Brad Scott's tenure.
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