On a 70-point night for No. 12 South Carolina, several players saw the end zone for the very first time. Freshman tailback Jamari Smith from Jacksonville, Florida, was one who benefited from the opportunity, scoring his first career touchdown as a Gamecock along with teammates Shon Carson and Pharoh Cooper.
Carson made his first official start for South Carolina but it was Smith who scored the first rushing touchdown of the game. With 4:40 remaining the in the first quarter, Smith replaced Carson and scored from three yards out to give the Gamecocks a two-touchdown advantage.
Smith, who has made the transition from running back to defensive back and back again to running back, got a chance to showcase his skill sets and prove that he is in the right place on the offensive side of the ball. When asked if he felt that tailback was the right place on the roster for him, he quickly responded, "Yes, I think I am."
"Moving back-and-forth...honestly, I had the mindset that I just wanted to play," he said. "Now that I'm back at running back, I think I made a good decision."
"During practices this week, I was getting a lot of reps and things like that," Smith said. "When I got in it was a shocker but, when I got it, I followed my blockers and used techniques that I learned from Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson."
That preparation led to a monster game for Smith. Not only did Smith get in the game, he led the team in rushing with 103 yards. By doing so, he became the fifth Gamecock to rush for over 100 yards in a game this season. He joins Davis, Wilds, Carson and Connor Shaw.
Smith tried to contain his excitement following the game as he participated in another first, his first post-game press conference. Slightly uncomfortable in front of the media, the cameras, the recorders and the like, Smith spoke of his first career touchdown.
"It felt really good," Smith said. "It was a good opportunity. The first touchdown I've had here, and it's a blessing. I always stay humble, so I didn't have a celebration (after the touchdown), 0but it was a really good feeling."
Smith's performance was not lost on Steve Spurrier.
"Jamari Smith had over 100 yards (and) I noticed that in his first few carries as a Gamecock," Spurrier said. "He's a good back and a good player so we may go back and give him a game ball."
Shaw also showed a lot of confidence in the Smith and all of his backfield mates.
"It goes to show it's a stable that have of running backs," Shaw said. "It doesn't matter who is in, they are all capable of making big time plays."
Smith finished the game with 103 yards on 10 attempts with a long of 52 yards.