Clowney didn't agree, saying it was more North Carolina's tempo than Hurst's blocking that got to him. "I wasn't really impressed like I was against the guy from Michigan," Clowney said, referring to Wolverines' Taylor Lewan.
Right before halftime, Clowney appeared to be breathing heavy in the 90-degree heat and humidity.
There was a scary moment after play resumed when Clowney was cut from behind by backup offensive lineman Kiaro Holts, who was called for clipping.
Davis finished with 115 yards on 12 carries. Shaw was 11 for 19 passing for 149 yards and his touchdown.
The Gamecocks looked like they might give their defense a break with a 17-point first quarter that was their biggest production in an opening-game quarter since 1996's 33-14 win over Central Florida.
The Gamecocks outgained North Carolina 203 yards to 35 in the opening quarter. The Tar Heels settled down a bit after that and closed to 17-7 on Renner's 4-yard TD pass to Quinshad Davis.
North Carolina, though, hurt itself several times. After the defense forced a three-and-out, T.J. Thorpe muffed the punt at midfield to keep South Carolina's drive going.
Elliott Fry added field goals of 39 and 26 yards in his first game at South Carolina.
Spurrier has said all summer that South Carolina is more than just Clowney. The Gamecocks defense certainly was, holding North Carolina's high-speed attack to 121 yards in the first 30 minutes. The Tar Heels averaged more than 40 points and 485 yards a game last year.
North Carolina opened the second half with a 17-play, 7-minute drive that ended with a field goal to cut the lead to 20-10. Then Davis, the younger brother of ex-Clemson 1,000-yard rusher James Davis, burst through the line on South Carolina's next snap and broke out for his long touchdown run.
The Tar Heels couldn't make anything happen after that.
Renner and the Tar Heels drove to South Carolina's 2 in the final two minutes, but could not score. Renner was stopped a yard short of the end zone by defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles.
Renner ended 26 of 43 with 194 yards. The Tar Heels finished with 293 yards.
Fedora wasn't sure why his offense stalled.
"We're in year two. I wish we were farther along than we are, but we're not," he said. "That was a good measuring stick for us. I didn't look at tonight and say, 'We're so far away we're not going to make it.' I don't think we're that far away."
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