(Saturday, October 24th)
Final Score: (23) South Carolina 14, Vanderbilt 10
Columbia, SC (Sports Network) - Stephen Garcia threw for 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22-of-33 efficiency, and the defense held up late, as No. 23 South Carolina survived Vanderbilt, 14-10, in an SEC clash at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Kenny Miles added 102 yards on 18 carries for the Gamecocks (6-2, 3-2 SEC), who have won five of six and became bowl eligible with the win. Alshon Jeffery totaled 161 yards and a TD on eight catches, while D.L. Moore also had a TD grab in the win.
"What I like about Alshon (Jeffery) is that he'll come over and suggest plays. Sidney (Rice) used to do that," said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "Alshon has a feel for the game. He knows the offense very well now."
Larry Smith threw for 132 yards on 17-of-34 passing for the Commodores (2-6, 0-5), who lost their fourth straight game. Warren Norman tallied 83 yards on 15 rushes and also ran back a kickoff 99 yards for a score. Brandon Barden had two receptions for 52 yards.
The Commodores have failed to score more than 13 points in any of their six losses this season.
Trailing by three points, the Gamecocks got the ball at their own one-yard- line to begin the fourth frame. Tori Gurley hauled in a 43-yard reception on the first play, and Jeffery followed with a 23-yard catch. Later in the drive, facing a 3rd-and-20 from the Vanderbilt 43, Garcia hit Jeffery in stride down the left hash mark, and he took it to the end zone to give the Gamecocks a 14-10 edge with 12:51 left to play.
Vanderbilt was held to a three-and-out on its following possession, and South Carolina embarked on a drive that ate up 5 1/2 minutes of clock. However, the trek stalled at the Vanderbilt 37 and the team was forced to punt. The kick was a beauty that pinned the Commodores at their own three.
The teams traded punts before Vanderbilt took over at its own 35 with four minutes left. The Commodores drove down before being faced with a 3rd-and-8 from the South Carolina 23. Smith dropped back and felt the pressure before lobbing a pass out of bounds. He was flagged for intentional grounding, which made it 4th-and-32. Smith wound up running for just eight yards on the next play, and the Gamecocks took over with 1:40 left and were able to wind the clock down.
"It was a very close game, very hard fought," said Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson. "I was proud of our players in coming down here in a tough situation and playing very well. We had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, which is the opportunity we wanted, but we just did not make it happen in that last drive. Give credit to South Carolina."
Neither team could muster any offense in the first quarter, and the Gamecocks eventually got the ball at midfield with just under 10 minutes left in the half. On the fourth play of the drive, Moore hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass to give the home team a 7-0 edge.
Vanderbilt answered immediately, though, as Norman returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to tie it up.
The score remained deadlocked at the half.
Vandy eventually got the ball at the South Carolina 43 early in the third. The Commodores drove all the way down to the four-yard-line, where the drive stalled. Ryan Fowler then nailed a 21-yard field goal to give the visitors a 10-7 edge with about nine minutes showing on the clock.
Vanderbilt had won the last two games in this series...South Carolina outgained Vanderbilt, 431-273.
10/25 00:10:13 ET