The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville 21-7 on Saturday night.
Breaking it Down…1st Quarter…South Carolina won the coin toss and deferred. Vanderbilt began from their 20 yard line and ripped off a 40 yard run on their first play. They were unable to gain any more yardage on their next three plays. On fourth down the Commodores brought the punt team out but then faked the punt. Travian Robertson wasn’t fooled and tackled punter Richard Kent for no gain. The Gamecocks took over and moved into Commodore territory, gaining two first downs along the way. The drive bogged down after a false start and a couple of incomplete passes. Spencer Lanning’s punt sailed into the end zone for a touch back. Vanderbilt picked up two first downs before punting, and South Carolina picked up 4 before punting back.
2nd Quarter…Vanderbilt’s first drive of the second quarter was a long, methodical drive that started at their 17 and finished with quarterback Larry Smith scoring from 3 yards out to make the score 7-0. South Carolina and Vanderbilt then exchanged punts, and the Gamecocks took over at their 20 with 6:20 on the clock. Although they picked up two first downs USC had to punt again. Vanderbilt unsuccessfully tried to run out the clock, but they were forced to punt. The Gamecocks took over at their 41 with 1:03 on the clock. Stephen Garcia completed 5 of 6 passes, and Brian Maddox rushed once for 12 yards as USC finally found the end zone. Garcia found Tori Gurley from the 15 for the touchdown. Spencer Lanning’s extra point tied the game at 7. Vanderbilt knelt the ball, and the half was over.
3rd Quarter…South Carolina took the second half kickoff and drove into Commodore territory but had to punt. Vanderbilt then went three and out. Stephen Garcia tried a deep pass on first down but was intercepted at the Vandy 20. Vanderbilt was unable to move the ball and punted. South Carolina started the next drive at their 7. Eight of the next 12 plays were rushes as USC went the length of the field for the go ahead touchdown. The 4 passes Garcia threw were all completed to Gurley. When Vanderbilt got the ball back, they made one first down and punted. South Carolina took over at their 35 and started to move the ball.
4th Quarter…The Gamecock drive stalled at the Commodore 9, and Coach Spurrier elected to send the field goal team on. Spencer Lanning’s field goal was blocked handing momentum to Vandy. The Gamecock defense forced three incomplete passes and got the ball back. Despite being able to move the ball some, USC’s offense had to punt yet again. Vanderbilt, being a university of gentlemen, returned the favor and punted the ball back. South Carolina struck quickly on the next series when Stephen Garcia found Alshon Jeffrey streaking down the sideline for a 72 yard touchdown pass. The extra point made the score 21-7. The two teams exchanged more punts giving Vanderbilt the ball with 3:44 to go. The Commodores couldn’t get the ball out of their territory and turned the ball over on downs.
Stars of the Game…Brian Maddox…24 rushes for 146 yards and a touchdown…Stephen Garcia…31 of 39 for 355 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT…Tori Gurley…13 receptions for 109 yards and a TD…Alshon Jeffrey…9 receptions for 158 yards and a TD…Devin Taylor…2 sacks
What to Take from the Weekend…South Carolina came to Nashville needing a win to expunge the Kentucky loss and get back on track in the East. That’s what they got. It wasn’t a terribly exciting or inspiring game. The teams combined to punt 16 times, have a fake punt foiled and have a field goal blocked. It wasn’t pretty, but it was exactly what South Carolina needed. It was a conference road win, so the margin of victory isn’t important. Looking at the box score, it’s almost amazing that the score wasn’t much higher. The Gamecocks can stop dwelling on the Kentucky loss and look to win their remaining games and win the East.
This and that…The Gamecocks improved to 5-2 (3-2) and continue to lead the SEC East…USC outgained Vandy 484 to 250…First Downs: SC 25, VU 11…Time of Possession: SC 37:21, VU 22:39…3rd down conversions: SC 9 of 17, VU 3 of 15, including 0 for 8 in the second half…Vandy had only 70 yards in the second half…
Up next…South Carolina returns home to play Tennessee at 12:21 Saturday on the SEC Network.