The No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks held off a late Vanderbilt comeback on Saturday, winning 35-25. The Gamecocks dominated the first three quarters of the game, but mistakes on special teams put Vanderbilt in a position to make it very close in the end.
The Commodores got things close in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels managed a pair of touchdowns to bring the game within 10 points. The first was off a 1-yard touchdown run by Carta-Samuels after a 10-play, 49-yard drive. The second came after Shone Carson fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the ball back to Vanderbilt. Carta-Samuels managed to hit Wesley Tate for a 19-yard touchdown on the first play of that drive for the second score.
On the ensuing drive, the Gamecocks were forced to punt after getting a single first down. But the Commodores were unable to put anything together, and they were also forced to punt. T.J. Gurley had the punt bounce off him, and the Commodores recovered, giving them another shot at the drive.
They made it to a third-and-goal play at the South Carolina 5-yard line, when Carta-Samuels was intercepted by Jimmy Legree at the 1-yard line, killing the drive. South Carolina took over, and though they required a fourth-down conversion to do so, they managed to kill the clock and seal the win.
South Carolina quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson shared snaps, though Shaw took the bulk of them. He completed 21-of-29 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Thompson completed 7-of-9 passes for 75 yards, but had an interception and didn't see much time after that. Shaw also managed 84 yards on the ground compared to Thompson's 23.
The Gamecocks out-gained Vanderbilt on offense, with almost 600 yards to under 300.
Box Score Hero: While Shaw managed some impressive yardage despite giving up snaps to Thompson, it was wide receiver Bruce Ellington who put up the mot impressive numbers of the day. He caught eight passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, with an average of 13.9 yards per reception.
Rankings Ramifications: The Gamecocks entered this game as the No. 13 team in the nation, and though they took a solid win, they're not likely to move up without some help from teams in front of them faltering.
But Did They Cover?: South Carolina opened this one as 12.5-point favorites, though the line narrowed slightly on some books and widened by half a point on others. Either way, they didn't manage to cover with a 10-point victory.
For More On This Game: For more on Vandy football, visit Vanderbilt community Anchor Of Gold, plus SEC community Team Speed Kills. For more on Cocks football, visit South Carolina community Garnet And Black Attack.
Next Week's Schedule: South Carolina hits the road with a game against the UCF Knights on Sept. 28. Vanderbilt continues their road trip with a game against the Massachusetts Minutemen on Sept. 21.