Gamecocks’ senior quarterback Connor Shaw throws for 284 yards and three TDs, adds 84 rushing yards
COLUMBIA, SC September 14, 2013 – Behind senior quarterback Connor Shaw’s 368 yards of total offense, South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) held on to defeat Vanderbilt 35-25 on Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Shaw threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns on 21-for-29 passing while also leading the Gamecocks in rushing with 84 yards on 19 carries. Junior wide receiver Bruce Ellington made a career-best eight catches for 111 yards and a score, while sophomore running back Mike Davis added 144 all-purpose yards (77 rushing, 67 receiving) in the victory. Sophomore running back Brandon Wilds caught his first career TD pass, while junior Nick Jones also had a TD catch.
South Carolina scored on its first four possessions of the game. The first, set up by Ellington’s 12-yard punt return to the Vandy 42, needed just six plays, with all the yards (27 passing, 15 rushing) coming from Shaw. Shaw hit Jones with a bullet toward the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The second Gamecock drive went much longer, as it took 11 plays to cover 93 yards. Davis capped the drive with a four-yard run. The biggest play came on Davis’ 38-yard catch-and-run from Shaw that put South Carolina on the Vandy 24.
Junior quarterback Dylan Thompson piloted the third drive, an eight-play, 76-yard one that ended with his three-yard draw for the score. He went 5-for-5 for 67 yards, with all five passes going for first downs. The second quarter saw the Gamecocks keep rolling, scoring an eight-yard, 92-yard drive. Shaw hit Ellington in traffic from 26 yards out for the score, the third catch of the drive for the junior. He also had a three-yard grab and a 39-yard catch as well in the sequence.
Vanderbilt scored late in the first half on Jerron Seymour’s one-yard run. Steven Clarke’s 69-yard interception of Thompson’s pass set up the one-play, one-yard score. It was the first interception given up by the Gamecocks in 72 pass attempts in 2013. The Commodores added a 54-yard field goal from Carey Spear as the half ended. South Carolina outgained Vanderbilt 381-95 in the first half and ran 52 plays to Vandy’s 24.
SC GAMECOCKS FOOTBALL TICKETS
The Gamecocks put up another touchdown on their first possession of the second half when Wilds caught a 33-yard TD pass from Shaw, finishing the 10-play, 75-yard drive in 4:38. On the ensuing Vandy possession, the Commodores drove deep into Gamecock territory before junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney sacked VU’s Austyn Carta-Samuels and forced a fumble, which senior defensive tackle Kelsey Quarles recovered, ending that Vandy threat.
But the Commodores kept coming, scoring early in the fourth quarter on Carta-Samuels’ one-yard run, which ended a 10-play, 45-yard drive. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by the Gamecocks, setting up Wesley Tate’s 19-yard reception from Carta-Samuels for the score. The two-point pass to tight end Steven Schue was good, making it 35-25 in favor of South Carolina. After a stalled Vanderbilt drive, the punt hit a Gamecock defender, and VU’s Darrius Sims recovered, giving the Commodores another life. But senior cornerback Jimmy Legree picked off the Carta-Samuel pass on the goal line, the first interception by a Gamecock in 2013.
The Gamecocks, taking over at the one-yard line, ran the clock down to a minute before turning the ball over on downs at the Vanderbilt 36. The Commodores’ final possession was unfruitful, giving the Gamecocks the win.
South Carolina has a bye week ahead before taking on UCF in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 28.