South Carolina 17, East Carolina 0
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Todd Ellis passed for 235 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, including a spectacular 97-yard scoring strike to Robert Brooks, as No. 14 South Carolina downed East Carolina 17-0.
Ellis, who had just 67 yards passing in the first half, shocked East Carolina with his record-setting pass on the Gamecocks’ first play from scrimmage in the second half.
After South Carolina recovered a Pirate fumble at the Gamecock 3-yard line, Ellis fired down the left sideline to Brooks, who eluded three East Carolina tacklers at the Pirate 13 and sprinted into the end zone. The pass was the longest in South Carolina history.
Late in the fourth quarter Ellis hit Brooks on a 6-yard touchdown pass. It was the 35th scoring pass of his career, setting a school record.
South Carolina improved its season mark to 3-0. East Carolina dropped to 1-2. The Gamecocks led 3-0 at halftime on Collin Mackie’s 52-yard field goal.
Pirate placekicker Robb Imperato missed field-goal attempts from 47, 47, and 35 yards.
East Carolina outplayed South Carolina offensively in the first half, picking up 133 total yards compared with the Gamecocks’ 103.
Ellis, who completed 14 of 24 passes with no interceptions, broke the record for passing touchdowns held by Tommy Suggs, who quarterbacked for the Gamecocks from 1968 to 1970.
The longest previous touchdown pass was an 83-yarder from Gordon Beckham to Kent Hagood in 1981.
Pirate quarterback Travis Hunter hit 6 of 12 passes for 61 yards and had 23 yards rushing.
Most of East Carolina’s 336 yards total offense came on the ground, with tailback Reggie McKinney getting 89 yards on 14 carries and fullback Tim James 82 yards on 18 carries.
None of South Carolina’s backs ran for more than 30 yards.
South Carolina, which had 284 yards in total offense, got across midfield only twice in the first half.
Over all, the Pirates had 24 first downs to South Carolina’s 14 and controlled the ball for 37 minutes.