COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — There's no quarterback controversy for coach Steve Spurrier at No. 9 South Carolina, even after backup Dylan Thompson threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday's 48-10 win over East Carolina.
Instead, Spurrier said he now just has two guys who can play the position well.
Spurrier said after the game that injured starter Connor Shaw will start next week for the Gamecocks (2-0) against UAB if he recovers from his bruised throwing shoulder.
"If Connor is 100 percent, he's our guy," Spurrier said. "Now we know if something happens to Connor, Dylan can go in there."
Thompson's 330 yards beat Shaw's career best game of 311 yards, and the passing game looked vastly better than last week, when the Gamecocks threw for just 67 yards and completed only seven passes against Vanderbilt. But Thompson told reporters that Shaw is a great player who deserves to stay the starter.
"I'm just the backup quarterback. My role is to be ready when I am called," Thompson said.
The sophomore's first completion was a 53-yard pass to Damiere Byrd. He finished the game 21 of 37, averaging almost 16 yards per completion. He did not throw an interception.
The rejuvenated passing game allowed Spurrier to use star running back Marcus Lattimore sparingly. He gained 40 yards on 13 carries, although he did have a rushing touchdown that tied him for the most touchdowns in school history at 33 with Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and Harold Green.
Spurrier said before the game that Shaw could play if he was needed after bruising his right shoulder in last week's win over Vanderbilt. After the win, he said the junior's shoulder hurt so bad he could only go in an emergency.
Thompson's play made that decision easy. After throwing two incompletions to start the game, he completed his next five passes as the Gamecocks jumped to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
In fact, Thompson's only bad decision came late in the fourth quarter when he took on a defender as he tried to run the ball in for a touchdown on a third-and-19 with the Gamecocks up 31 points. Their helmets collided, and Thompson fumbled it away. Spurrier shook his head, smiled and patted his QB on the back when he got back to the sideline.
"Don't ever do that again," Spurrier told him.
Spurrier didn't let up. South Carolina threw the ball or planned to throw it on 14 of 19 plays in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Ace Sanders took a lateral and threw a 16-yard touchdown to D.L. Moore, then third string quarterback Seth Strickland threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rory Anderson with 44 seconds left.