The Ragin' Cajuns (0-1) fought back to tie it after South Carolina took a 14-0 lead less than 6 minutes into the season.
But it's usually a mistake to bet against Spurrier -- especially in opening games.
He came into this one 16-1 alltime in college. The lone loss? To the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium in 1989 in his s final season at Duke.
Even Spurrier's nightmare NFL career -- he was 12-20 in two season in Washington -- always began strongly with the Redskins winning in Week 1 both his years.
Louisiana-Lafayette lost its fifth opener of the last six years -- two to South Carolina, one each to Texas A&M, Texas and LSU.
Despite the win, Spurrier couldn't have liked what he saw out of his offense for most of this one.
Smelley threw a 2-yard scoring pass to tight end Andy Boyd. Beecher, normally a third stringer, followed on the next series with a 19-yard TD strike to Kenny McKinley. To many in the announced crowd of 78,234, the rout looked on no matter who got took the snaps.
One series later, Desormeaux moved the Ragin' Cajuns 89 yards to the end zone. Chancellor Robertson got the tying touchdown from 3 yards out.
Boyd answered with a go-ahead touchdown, diving in to end his 2-yard run with 24 seconds left before halftime.
Boyd added the second half's only score on a 4-yard run that put South Carolina up two touchdowns.
Louisiana-Lafayette tried to get back into it, but was twice stopped on fourth down inside South Carolina's 5.
Desormeaux ran for 116 of the Ragin' Cajuns 252 yards rushing. He also completed 12 of 19 for 63 yards.
Smelley and Beecher, both likely to go back to the bench when the Gamecocks go to Georgia next week, combined to go 21 of 21 for 238 yards passing.
Mitchell, a fifth-year senior, was given a one-game suspension by the athletic department for missing too many summer school classes. The Gamecocks also played without two others who started games a year ago.
Safety Emanuel Cook was out recovering from an appendectomy performed last weekend. He was also arrested on a weapons charge Aug. 24. Defensive end Jordin Lindsey was ineligible because of academic concerns.
Right guard James Thompson, expected to make his first start, was held out for undisclosed reasons.