Gamecocks Shut Down Vanderbilt, 21-3
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No.
12/10 South Carolina used a dominant effort from its defense to defeat
Vanderbilt, 21-3, on Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Gamecocks held the Commodores to just 77 yards of offense (73 passing,
four rushing), forced three turnovers and recorded six sacks in their
best defensive performance of the season.
“Our defense came to
play tonight,” South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said. “That was
by far our best game of the year. Basically had a shutout and really
limited (Vanderbilt) to not much at all. Obviously, our defense was the
big reason we won the game.”
With the win, South Carolina
improves to 4-0 for the first time since 2001 and 2-0 in the
Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt drops to 3-1 on the season and 1-1
in the conference.
Senior defensive end Melvin Ingram and
freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney recorded four tackles apiece to
lead the Gamecocks. Ingram tallied three tackles for loss, including
two sacks, and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown,
which was his third score of the year. Clowney finished with two sacks,
both of which resulted in fumbles. Senior Spur Antonio Allen also had
four tackles and his third fumble recovery of the season.
Carolina gained 367 yards on the night, with 236 through the air and
131 on the ground. Sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore rushed for
77 yards and a score and had 73 yards receiving and a touchdown to
carry the offense.
Senior quarterback Stephen Garcia completed
16-of-30 passes for 228 yards with one touchdown and four
interceptions. Ace Sanders had four receptions for 75 yards, and Alshon
Jeffery added two receptions for 34 yards in the win. Jeffery passed
Sterling Sharpe for second on the all-time receiving yards list at
South Carolina with 2,526 yards in his career. He needs 255 yards to
pass Kenny McKinley as the all-time leader.
grabbed a 3-0 first-quarter lead on a 33-yard field goal by Carey
Spear, South Carolina turned to its defense for a spark in the second
On third and 7 from the Vanderbilt 39, Commodore
quarterback Larry Smith dropped back to pass, but Clowney burst into
the backfield and stripped the ball. Allen scooped up the fumble and
returned it 20 yards before Vanderbilt’s Wesley Tate punched the ball
loose into the end zone, where Ingram fell on it for the Gamecock
touchdown. Jay Wooten’s extra point gave the Gamecocks a 7-3 lead
with 11:59 left in the half.
“Melvin was on the spot there, no
question about it, on the fumble recovery,” Spurrier said. “He seems to
be around the ball, and Antonio was around the ball. Those two guys
combined for that play. It’s sort of neat because they’re the ones
making the plays all year.”
The Gamecocks went into the locker
room with a 14-3 lead after executing their two-minute offense to
perfection with 46 seconds left in the half, needing just two plays to
find the end zone. On second and 5 from the Gamecock 48, Garcia found
Lattimore on short pass, and Lattimore broke through a tackle and
weaved his way down the field for a 52-yard touchdown reception.
Carolina continued its solid defensive play to start the second half,
forcing a three-and-out on the opening possession. The Gamecock offense
then helped put the game out of reach with an 11-play, 83-yard scoring
drive capped by a 22-yard touchdown run by Lattimore, giving South
Carolina a 21-3 advantage with 7:46 left in the third quarter.
Gamecocks shut down the Commodore offense the remainder of the game,
allowing just seven yards the rest of the way to seal the win.
think we only had one bad call there at the end,” Spurrier said. “Other
than that, we just played solid, sound defense and put the guys in
position to let them play. They played well and tackled well.”
South Carolina returns to action at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1 against Auburn.