Bryce Perkins threw three touchdown passes to Olamide Zaccheaus, Virginia’s defense dominated and the Cavaliers beat South Carolina 28-0 in the Belk Bowl on Saturday for their first bowl win since 2005.
Perkins completed 22 of 31 passes for 208 yards and ran for 81 yards as the Cavaliers (8-5) ended the ACC’s longest bowl drought. Zaccheaus, named the game’s Most Outstanding Player, had 12 catches for 100 yards. Jordan Ellis ran for 106 yards and a touchdown, helping Virginia hold the ball for more than 42 minutes.
The Gamecocks were shut out for the first time since 2006, when they lost 18-0 to Georgia.
The Cavaliers’ 14th-ranked pass defense put the clamps on a hot South Carolina offense that had averaged 38.2 points per game over the past five games. Jake Bentley had thrown for 16 touchdowns during that span, including a 510-yard, five-TD performance against No. 2 Clemson, but struggled without wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who elected to bypass the bowl game to begin preparing for the NFL draft.
Bentley was limited to 218 yards on 17-of-39 passing and was intercepted twice. South Carolina was 2 of 13 on third down conversions and 2 of 5 on fourth downs.
The Cavaliers controlled the ball for more than 20 minutes of the first half and built a 14-0 lead at halftime. Perkins found Zaccheaus on a fourth-and-2 in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard score, and Jordan Ellis added a 9-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
Perkins found Zaccheaus twice in the second half for TDs of 10 and 12 yards
South Carolina: The first game of the post-Samuel era did not go well. That could be a troubling sign for next season for the Gamecocks, who had come into the game as five-point favorites.
Virginia: Bronco Mendenhall’s defense limited what the Gamecocks could muster on offense with a series of blitzes and strong coverage in the secondary.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks return to this stadium on Aug. 31, 2019 to face border state rival North Carolina in a neutral site game.
Virginia: Has a bright future next year with Perkins returning at quarterback. The Cavaliers are back in action on Sept. 7, 2019 when they host William & Mary.
Source: The Associated Press