Dakereon Joyner took the snap, looked up and saw daylight to his left.
South Carolina’s receiver/quarterback/playmaker turned on the jets, sprinted down the left sideline and stopped on a dime around the 20-yard line, where he made Charleston Southern DB Cody Cline miss a tackle. He juked Buccaneer DB Hombre Kennedy a few yards further downfield before getting forced out of bounds at the 6-yard line.
“I saw green grass,” Joyner said with a wide grin after the game. “And I had to go.”
Joyner burst free on the ensuing play for a 6-yard touchdown run.
Explosive plays that led to touchdowns — as well as touchdowns on explosive plays themselves — was a theme of the day for the Gamecocks (1-1) in the team’s 72-10 blowout victory over Charleston Southern (0-2).
South Carolina defines explosive plays as runs of at least 10 yards and pass completions of at least 15. Other than turnover ratio, it’s the statistic Gamecock coaches harp on the most.
“It changes the momentum of the game and it changes field position,” Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp said. “Other than special teams, that’s where you’re able to swing the field quickly. Being able to do that is really, really important.”
The Gamecocks had 15 explosive plays on Saturday, nine in the first half and six in the second.
None were most explosive than freshman running back Kevin Harris’s 75-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter. It was Harris’s third rushing touchdown of the game. He had a 45-yard touchdown run earlier in the quarter, a score just one drive after Gamecock running back Mon Denson scampered for a 57-yard touchdown run.
The team’s first four explosive plays were runs.
Rico Dowdle had two explosive runs (for 10 and 12 yards, respectively) on back-to-back plays on the Gamecocks’ opening drive that set himself up for a 3-yard score one play later.
Dowdle, who finished with 87 yards rushing, broke free for a 35-yard gain a drive later. Gamecock quarterback Ryan Hilinski capitalized with a 4-yard touchdown run on the next play.
Joyner’s aforementioned 41-yard razzle dazzle came on the next drive, one that ended in a touchdown that gave the home team an eventual 21-3 lead.
Hilinski’s 60-yard touchdown heave to Bryan Edwards three minutes into the second quarter to give the home team a 35-3 lead.
“We knew the [deep] shots were going to be there,” Edwards said. “ … A good ball by Ryan hitting me in stride.”
OrTre Smith (17-yard catch) and Edwards (15-yard rush) had explosive plays on the team’s fourth drive.
Denson’s second-half touchdown run — his fifth-career touchdown run and the longest of his career — on the first play of the fourth quarter put an exclamation point on the afternoon.
Harris’s two long scores put cherries on top.