South Carolina didn’t win pretty, but did what it needed to do to get past Vanderbilt, 34-27, Saturday in front of 78,992 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Gamecocks took advantage of a porous run defense from Vanderbilt, rushing for a season-high 212 yards against a group that gave up 242 yards on average coming into the game.
The highlight-man was AJ Turner, who rushed for a career-high 121 yards and a touchdown, while also getting some big time down the stretch to help salt away the victory.
Jake Bentley got in the act too, with six runs for 47 yards and two scores to go along with a passing touchdown to Shi Smith.
Bentley talked about his newfound running prowess:
The onus was on Turner to carry the load with Rico Dowdle shelved, and the Gamecocks used more counter and designed runs to move the football as opposed to letting Jake Bentley have the option to choose run or pass.
Turner was South Carolina’s first 100-yard rusher of the year, which is an unfortunate indication of how much the run offense (ranked 12th from the bottom in FBS in average yards per game) has struggled this year.
The Virginia product had the hot hand Saturday, and he described his second career game over the century mark:
Saturday also marked the return of Zack Bailey to the offensive line along with two of his other teammates, Cory Helms and Malik Young.
Helms re-aggravated the ankle injury which had kept him out, but the prognosis postgame was that he’ll be fine to play against Georgia.
As for Bailey, he was more than happy to be back out on the field:
The defensive effort was the toughest effort to grade among South Carolina’s wins this season. Like the Missouri game, the Gamecocks allowed the opposition to outgain them, but buckle down when needed.
USC did force a turnover with a Steven Montac interception, but had a couple of critical pass interference calls that cost them. One was on an interception by Skai Moore which the penalty nullified, and Rashad Fenton looked to be in good coverage but was called for interference on what would have been a third-down stop. The Commodores scored later in that drive.
The Gamecocks now turn their attention to Georgia, a team undefeated and at the top of the SEC East Division. Will Muschamp says all the work this week will be driven toward treating it as the next game on their schedule:
The game against Georgia is set for a 3:30 PM kickoff and will be televised nationally on CBS.
Click below to see Will Palaszczuk’s Postgame Analysis on Periscope:
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) October 29, 2017