19th ranked USC overcame a slow start and found a way to get by the always pesky Vanderbilt with a 21-7 win Saturday night in Nashville.
Some Gamecocks fans were probably wondering if it was going to be another bad chapter in the recently competitive USC-Vandy series, especially after the Commodores jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. The Gamecock contingent that made the trip was breathing easier when Carolina tied the score on a Tori Gurley touchdown catch from Stephen Garcia with :12 seconds left in the half.
That catch for Gurley was part of a huge night for red-shirt sophomore out of Rock Hill. Gurley finished the night with 13 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. His performance almost overshadowed Alshon Jeffery’s nine catch, 158 yard night. 72 of Jeffery’s 158 yards came on a long touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that put the game away.
Running back Brian Maddox didn’t get the start Saturday night, but he certainly made an impact. Kenny Miles didn’t find much running room early so Maddox came off the bench to rush for 149 yards on 24 carries. He scored once. Maddox said he was “devasted” he didn’t get the call to start in place of the injured Marcus Lattimore and was happy he was able to get a chance to contribute.
Click below for a complete quarter by quarter recap.
FIRST QUARTER RECAP
Vanderbilt opened the game with a 40 gain on an option play. It looked like an ominous start for the Gamecocks, but the defense held and the next three plays and the offense ended up taking over on its own 40 after a failed fake punt by Vandy.
USC’s ensuing drive stalled on the Vanderbilt 36 yard line and ended in a punt.
Vander started its second drive on its own 20 yard line. Vandy converted a key third and ten to move into USC territory, getting a first and 10 at the Gamecock 48. The drive, however, ended in a Commodore punt.
The quarter ended with a Stephen Garcia sack on the Vandy 32.
End of first quarter score 0-0
SECOND QUARTER RECAP
USC opened the quarter with a 3rd and 17 on the Vandy 32. The Gamecocks conversion attempt never had a chance because the snap went over Stephen Garcia’s head and was recovered by him all the way back at the Gamecock 44 yard line. USC punted.
Vanderbilt started its first drive of the second quarter on its own 17 yard line. For the third time in as many possessions, the Commodores moved into USC territory. After converting a third and eight to get across midfield, Vandy used A 35 yard pass play set up a first and goal on the Gamecock five yard line. Three plays later the scored on a three yard touchdown run by Larry Smith.
Vandy scoring drive summary: 12 plays, 83 yards, 3:45
USC starts its next drive on its own 31 yard line. The drive didn’t go far and ended with a Garcia sack on the Gamecock 34 yard line. Carolina punted.
Vandy started its next drive on its own 37 with 7:54 left in the half. The Commodores moved into USC territory again, but the drive stalled on the Gamecock 45. Vandy punted.
USC started its next possession on its own 20 with 6:10 left in the quarter. Continuing the trend, the drive ended with a Garcia sack at the Vandy 49 yard line. USC punted.
Vanderbilt started its next possession on its own 25 with 2:07 to play in the half. The Gamecock defense forced a three and out and Vanderbilt punted the ball with 1:15 left to play. It was the Commodores first three and out of the game.
USC started its final possession of the half on its own 41 with 1:03 left in the quarter. Garcia did a great job moving the team down the field with the passing game. He capped the Gamecocks first scoring drive with a 15 yard strike to Tory Gurley with: 12 seconds in the half.
USC scoring drive summary: 7 plays, 59 yards, :51
Halftime score: 7-7
THRID QUARTER RECAP
USC opens quarter with the ball and starts its first drive of the second half on its own 20. The Gamecocks moved the ball to midfield but could not convert a third and short and ended up punting.
Vanderbilt started its first drive of the third quarter from its own 15 with 12:01 left in the quarter. The Gamecock defense stuffed the Dores and forced them punt from the 15 yard line.
Vanderbilt had an impressive 60 yard punt and the Gamecocks started their next drive from their own 30 yard line. Garcia’s first pass was intended for Ace Saunders deep, but it was intercepted by Vandy on the Commodore 20 yard line.
The USC defense did its job though and forced another three and out, its third straight, and Vandy ended up punting.
USC started its next possession on its own seven yard line. They were backed up deep because of a hold on the punt return. The bad field position didn’t keep the Gamecocks from driving 93 yards for a touchdown and its first lead of the game. Brian Maddox did the damage on the ground and Tori Gurley had four big catches. The drive was capped by a two yard touchdown run my Maddox.
Gamecock scoring drive summary: 12 plays, 93 yards, 4:49
Vanderbilt’s next possession went nowhere and the Commodores ended up punting from their own 19 yard line.
USC took over on its own 35 yard line with 1:07 to play in the quarter. The quarter ended with the Gamecocks facing a second down and eight on its own 47 yard line.
End of 3rd quarter score: USC 14, Vanderbilt 7
FOURTH QUARTER RECAP
USC started the fourth quarter on its own 47 and moved deep into Vanderbilt territory before the drive stalled on the Vandy nine yard line. Facing fourth and four, the Gamecocks attempted a 26 yard field goal that was blocked by the Commodores.
Vandy took over on its own 20 yard line but was unable to pick up a first down and punted.
A good punt and a poor return by Ace Sanders started USC’s next drive on its own 13 yard line with 12:17 to play. The Gamecocks moved the ball to the Vanderbilt 43 before they had to punt. They almost had a crucial turnover when officials ruled Garcia fumbled on a third down carry. The call was (correctly) reversed and the Gamecocks punted.
After a touchback Vandy started its next drive on its own 20 with 8:23 left in the game. The Carolina defense answered the call and forced a three and out.
After the Vandy punt USC took over on its own 28 yard line. On a second and 10 play Garcia hit Alshon Jeffery on a 72 yard touchdown pass to put the game away with 6:41 left in the game.
USC scoring drive summary 2 plays, 72 yards, :53
Vanderbilt started its next drive on its drive on its own 16 yard line and was again was forced to punt after a three and out.
After the punt USC took over on its own 30 with 5:34 to play. The Gamecocks ran the ball three straight times and punted back to the Commodores.
Vandy took over on its own 22 yard line with 3:37 to play. The Commodores turned the ball over on downs at the USC 48 with 1:32 to play.
Final score USC 21, Vanderbilt 7