Without a leader

COLUMBIA, S.C. –By the end of South Carolina’s 34-3 thrashing of USF, both teams realized some things about their respective quarterback situations.

With backup quarterbacks starting Saturday, both the Bulls and the Gamecocks established quarterback controversies — but on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, the Gamecocks’ dilemma is the kind a team prefers.

USC’s second-string Syvelle Newton filled in for Dondrial Pinkins and made his case for the starting job. Newton completed 13 of 23 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns in his first-ever start.

USC’s story is what USF hoped to have entering this season. But after Ronnie Banks and Pat Julmiste split time in the first two games of the season with limited success, it is evident that’s not the case.

“We weren’t very good at all,” quarterback coach Rod Smith said. “We’re not consistent, not accurate enough, just no production right now. We need more from that unit. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Banks made his first start since Nov. 22 against UAB and completed 12 of 22 passes for 104 yards with an interception. Midway through the third quarter, the coaches had seen enough. They had to make the switch to Julmiste.

“It’s something we had talked about. I wanted to make a switch and he (coach Jim Leavitt) agreed,” Smith said. “We needed a change of pace. See if PJ could get something going. We had guys open, we just needed to be able to make the throw sometimes and we didn’t. We didn’t execute and that’s our fault.”

Julmiste didn’t do any better. He completed 2 of 10 passes for 7 yards.

Big Crowd, clear night: The 78,900 in attendance at Williams-Brice Stadium was the largest crowd to attend a USF game. The stadium’s capacity is 80,250.

Despite large rain bands that had moved through the area a few days earlier, the sky was clear at kickoff. The temperature was a cool 75 degrees.

It’s good: The kicking game was the only bright spot for USF. Santiago Gramatica’s 47-yard field goal in the first half was a career long. The kick sailed just past the crossbar as the half ended. Gramatica missed a 43-yard attempt earlier in the half.

Punter Brandon Baker’s 60-yard punt in the first half just missed his career long of 62 yards.

Miscellaneous: After Bruce Gipson dropped a punt in the first half, Travis Lipp took over the punt return duties. … Johnnie Jones left the game after he injured his neck. Jones was expected to redshirt the season after he sustained gunshot wounds to the back and neck last Christmas.