COLUMBIA - With his performance Saturday night, South Carolina's Dondrial Pinkins showed his team why a quarterback controversy is unnecessary.
In front of 80,523 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium, he did his job perfectly - not once did he flub a handoff to Demetris Summers.
Summers had the best game of his collegiate career, rushing for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, and South Carolina began righting itself after last week's Georgia debacle to pick up the 42-10 win against Alabama-Birmingham.
If the Gamecocks (3-1) can continue to get this production from Summers, coach Lou Holtz probably won't care who starts under center.
"Demetris Summers makes a big difference," Holtz said after the game. "We felt we could get in the I(-formation), and with his peripheral vision, he would be more comfortable. He's got a good burst, but he also ran physical when he was in traffic."
Said cornerback Dunta Robinson, who returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown to give the Gamecocks (3-1) a 28-0 lead in the second quarter: "It's a show when he's out there. I feel like a fan on the sidelines. I've been waiting all season for this."
And perhaps offensive tackle Na'shan Goddard summed up every Gamecock's feeling when he said, "Today, he was doing stuff I didn't know he could do."
But Summers, as he was quick to point out, could share his success with the entire team.
"The offensive line did a good job," he said. "I did what I could to get yardage. I waited patiently, and the holes opened up for me."
Pinkins also was efficient, completing 13 of 19 passes for 202 yards and an interception, and Washington-Wilkes' Daccus Turman had a nice day, gaining 104 all-purpose yards and rushing for a 1-yard touchdown.
All of them helped South Carolina stomp on the Blazers (1-3) - which fell behind 28-0 at halftime.
"Our first job was to show them what we're made of," said former Silver Bluff standout Troy Williamson, who had two catches for 34 yards. "Once you do that, it affects the tone for the rest of the game."
That attitude shifted to the defense as well.
Alabama-Birmingham quarterback Darrell Hackney - the Conference USA Freshman of the Year last season and the Blazers' biggest threat - was muzzled, completing only 17 of 38 passes for 141 yards, a score and two interceptions.
Without him, Alabama-Birmingham's offense was inept, gaining 231 total yards and not earning a first down until 1:08 remained in the first half.
"He's a good quarterback, and the coaches were scared all week because he makes plays," Robinson said. "Our emphasis was to confuse him, because he is a young quarterback. We mixed up our coverages, and that's what we needed to do."
NOTES: Not everything was perfect for the Gamecocks, however. Their kicking game is in need of massive help.
Starting place-kicker Daniel Weaver - who has made only one of five field goals this season - failed on a 40-yard try in the first half, and in the second, he missed a 28-yard field goal attempt.
His backup, Charlie Crawford, converted only one of two extra-point attempts.
"I ... just ... don't ... know," Holtz said. "The field-goal kicking is a real dilemma for me. I can't explain it. It's like having a 'yip' on a putt. (Weaver) looked like Billy Mayfair out there.
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216. or firstname.lastname@example.org.