There are probably more than a few USC fans that have an extra grey hair or two after Thursday night’s 17-13 win over Vanderbilt. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but the Gamecocks found a way to leave Nashville with a win.
Count Steve Spurrier among those relieved to be leaving the Music City 1-0. He knows the game easily could have gone the other way. After the game Spurrier pointed out games like this should remind his players they can lose to anyone on the schedule if you don’t play well.
“You get a little preseason press and you think you’re hot stuff, Spurrier said. Man, we almost got that stuff beat tonight…beat out of us.”
Spurrier also admitted this isn’t the same Vanderbilt program he faced earlier in his career.
“They are fast and they are quick. They are a well-conditioned team. You got to give them credit. They don’t have any slow dudes like they used to at Vandy.”
AUDIO: Steve Spurrier post game [7:48]
The offense Spurrier spent so much time praising during the offseason looked outmatched almost all night. The first offensive play and Marcus Lattimore’s first carry since his knee injury last year was a fumble. Connor Shaw’s first pass of the season was interception. Shaw literally added injury to insult when he went down with what was officially called a right shoulder contusion late in the first half. He didn’t return until late in the third quarter.
AUDIO: Connor Shaw post game interview [4:00]
AUDIO: Marcus Lattimore post game interview [4:40]
Defensively the Gamecocks held Vanderbilt to 276 yards of total offense. They did have couple of bust in the secondary that cost them 10 points. Safety Brison Williams whiffed on a receiver which led to a 78 yard touchdown pass. And there was a mistimed jump by DJ Swearinger allowed Vandy to complete a pass and set up a field goal. Spurrier also didn’t defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s call on Vandy’s final play, which an incomplete pass on a fourth down and seven play. Ward called a blitz and Swearinger was left in single coverage on a deep pass. It went down as an incompletion, but depending on who you talk to Swearinger may have gotten away with pass interference on the play.
“It looked like that last one that Vandy kid had a chance to catch it, Spurrier said. I’m not sure Coach Ward called the right defense there. I had a little conversation after that one. Zero blitz on fourth and seven.. But if it works it’s a good call.”
Ward made it clear he plans to blitz a lot this season, but his boss may be reeling him in a bit.
AUDIO: Lorenzo Ward postgame interview [1:39]
- Connor Shaw said he “absolutely” will play against East Carolina next week. He said he probably won’t be able to practice for a few days as he treats his bruised shoulder.
- Despite missing almost a full quarter Shaw still carried the ball 14 times for 97 yards, a 6.6 yards per carry average.
- Shaw only passed the ball 11 times. He completed seven of them for 67 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
- Dylan Thompson struggled when he came in for Shaw and Spurrier said Seth Strickland is now the number two quarterback. Strickland took a few snaps in the second half to spell Shaw but didn’t throw a pass.
- Marcus Lattimore admitted he was nervous about getting hit for the first time and said that had a lot to do with the fumble. He settled down and finished with 114 yards on 23 carried with a pair of touchdowns.
- USC failed to pick up a first down in the third quarter. They finished the quarter with just one yard of offense.