COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - After three weeks of football South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) knows who will be their quarterback going forward.
Freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain scored twice on the ground with 234 yards of total offense and no turnovers in his first collegiate start for the Gamecocks in 20-15 win over East Carolina on Saturday night.
The football and baseball star from Newton, Pennsylvania, picked up where he left off in the Mississippi State game. In the second half he led two scoring drives that were at least 80 yards.
After a hot first quarter against the East Carolina things stalled for the offense. They managed three points after a 17 point first quarter. That'll be something that'll need be corrected for their next game.
USC travels to Kentucky this Saturday. Kentucky (1-2, 0-1 SEC) put up 62 points in their first win of the year against New Mexico State.
After their best performance of the season the Gamecock defense, who are holding opponents to 17 points per game, will have to deal with another team who can put points on the board. But hopefully this Saturday the USC offense will be scoring and scoring a lot under the command of McIlwain.
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, who won his first home as the head coach, believes the offense is better suited for McIlwain when they play with urgency.
"Sometimes the tempo helps those guys because it eliminates a lot of the pre-snap thinking that goes on," Muschamp said following the Gamecocks win. "There are some times that I think at times in spring and in fall camp that he played better with a faster tempo which we tried to create sometimes. I think he plays well when he's playing fast."
Senior offensive lineman Mason Zandi sees a leader in the freshman signal caller in just three games.
"Brandon is a very confident and calm guy. You know you can look in his eyes; you can tell he's not antsy, you can tell he's not nervous. He trusts his skill set, he trusts his frontline and he likes to go out there and execute."
Kickoff is Saturday night in at 7:30 ET in Lexington, Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium.