South Carolina Holds Off Vanderbilt's Late Charge to Win 35-25
Gamecocks Move Up One Spot in National Rankings to No. 12
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Behind
senior quarterback Connor Shaw's 368 yards of total offense, South
Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) held on to defeat Vanderbilt 35-25 on Saturday
night at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Shaw threw for 284 yards and
three touchdowns on 21-for-29 passing while also leading the Gamecocks
in rushing with 84 yards on 19 carries. Junior wide receiver Bruce
Ellington made a career-best eight catches for 111 yards and a score,
while sophomore running back Mike Davis added 144 all-purpose yards (77
rushing, 67 receiving) in the victory. Sophomore running back Brandon
Wilds caught his first career TD pass, while junior Nick Jones also had
a TD catch.
South Carolina scored on its first four possessions
of the game. The first, set up by Ellington's 12-yard punt return to
the Vandy 42, needed just six plays, with all the yards (27 passing, 15
rushing) coming from Shaw. Shaw hit Jones with a bullet toward the back
of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The second Gamecock drive
went much longer, as it took 11 plays to cover 93 yards. Davis capped
the drive with a four-yard run. The biggest play came on Davis' 38-yard
catch-and-run from Shaw that put South Carolina on the Vandy 24.
quarterback Dylan Thompson piloted the third drive, an eight-play,
76-yard one that ended with his three-yard draw for the score. He went
5-for-5 for 67 yards, with all five passes going for first downs. The
second quarter saw the Gamecocks keep rolling, scoring an eight-yard,
92-yard drive. Shaw hit Ellington in traffic from 26 yards out for the
score, the third catch of the drive for the junior. He also had a
three-yard grab and a 39-yard catch as well in the sequence.
scored late in the first half on Jerron Seymour's one-yard run. Steven
Clarke's 69-yard interception of Thompson's pass set up the one-play,
one-yard score. It was the first interception given up by the Gamecocks
in 72 pass attempts in 2013. The Commodores added a 54-yard field goal
from Carey Spear as the half ended. South Carolina outgained Vanderbilt
381-95 in the first half and ran 52 plays to Vandy's 24.
Gamecocks put up another touchdown on their first possession of the
second half when Wilds caught a 33-yard TD pass from Shaw, finishing
the 10-play, 75-yard drive in 4:38. On the ensuing Vandy possession,
the Commodores drove deep into Gamecock territory before junior
defensive end Jadeveon Clowney sacked VU's Austyn Carta-Samuels and
forced a fumble, which senior defensive tackle Kelsey Quarles
recovered, ending that Vandy threat.
But the Commodores kept
coming, scoring early in the fourth quarter on Carta-Samuels' one-yard
run, which ended a 10-play, 45-yard drive. The ensuing kickoff was
fumbled by the Gamecocks, setting up Wesley Tate's 19-yard reception
from Carta-Samuels for the score. The two-point pass to tight end
Steven Schue was good, making it 35-25 in favor of South Carolina.
After a stalled Vanderbilt drive, the punt hit a Gamecock defender, and
VU's Darrius Sims recovered, giving the Commodores another life. But
senior cornerback Jimmy Legree picked off the Carta-Samuel pass on the
goal line, the first interception by a Gamecock in 2013.
Gamecocks, taking over at the one-yard line, ran the clock down to a
minute before turning the ball over on downs at the Vanderbilt 36. The
Commodores' final possession was unfruitful, giving the Gamecocks the
South Carolina has a bye week ahead before taking on UCF in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 28.