South Carolina Notches 37-14 Win Over Vandy With Videos
Game Recap: Football | | Associated Press
POSTGAME: Will Muschamp on Vanderbilt — 9/22/18
POSTGAME: Parker White, Jake Bentley on Vanderbilt — 9/22/18
POSTGAME: Shi Smith, Rico Dowdle on Vanderbilt — 9/22/18
POSTGAME: Bryson Allen-Williams, Zack Bailey on Vanderbilt — 9/22/18
POSTGAME: Javon Kinlaw on Vanderbilt — 9/22/18
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jake Bentley threw for 261 yards and a touchdown, and the South Carolina Gamecocks bounced back from their hurricane-forced break, routing Vanderbilt 37-14 Saturday.
South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) had its game against Marshall canceled by Hurricane Florence , leaving the Gamecocks looking for a 12th game this season. The Gamecocks hadn't played since being routed 41-17 by now-No. 2 Georgia on Sept. 8 .
They showed no rust as South Carolina won its 10th straight and 17th in the last 19 years against Vanderbilt.
The Gamecocks scored the game's first 10 points and then reeled off 20 straight after Vanderbilt got within 17-14 late in the first half. South Carolina could have had a bigger margin of victory but lost two fumbles inside the Vandy 30 in the fourth quarter after a 39-minute lightning and rain delay.
Vanderbilt (2-2, 0-1) felt pretty confident coming into its SEC opener after coming up just short in a 22-17 loss at No. 8 Notre Dame last week . The Commodores couldn't match Bentley and the Gamecocks who outgained them 149-32 in the first quarter and finished 534-284 in total offense.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn scored on a 2-yard TD run after an interception. Kyle Shurmur added a 2-yard TD pass for Vanderbilt. The Commodores struggled with snapping the ball and even switched right guard Bruno Reagan over to center late. It didn't help with a bad snap on third down and Vanderbilt trying to chip away at the Gamecocks' lead late.
South Carolina led Vanderbilt, 20-14, going into halftime. The Gamecock defense forced Vanderbilt into a punt on the Commodores first possession of the second half, then used a 10-play, 61-yard drive to take a nine-point lead after a 36-yard field goal by Parker White. Carolina added a third-quarter touchdown from Mon Denson and a late touchdown by Ty'Son Williams for the final scores of the contest.
534 to 284 — The Gamecock offense put up 534 yards of offense, 261 of those in the air from Jake Bentley, and had a 100-yard rusher (Rico Dowdle) and a 100-yard receiver (Shi Smith). Meanwhile, the Gamecock defense held Vandy to 284 yards and a pair of turnovers.
South Carolina heads to Lexington, Ky., for a conference matchup with Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 29. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be televised on SEC Network.
Knockout blow: How Commodores’ coach pushed Gamecocks’ buttons
NASHVILLE, TENN. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason promised South Carolina a street fight here Saturday.
Eventually, the Gamecocks won by technical knockout. South Carolina (2-1 overall, 1-1 SEC) dominated the Commodores (2-2, 0-1 SEC) throughout the game but couldn’t land a knockout punch until late in the fourth quarter of a 37-14 victory.
“We heard about it, and yeah we took it personally,” South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley said of Mason’s comments. “He called us out to come fight, and that’s what we did. We can play in a stadium, in a backyard, in the street. We ran for 270 yards so I think the o-linemen took it more personally than anybody else.”
The Gamecocks ran for 273 yards specifically, more than they have against an SEC opponent since Oct. 4, 2014 against Kentucky. In total, South Carolina out-gained the Commodores 534-284 on the way to their 10th straight win this series.
“We took it very personally,” offensive lineman Zack Bailey said. “You want to try and call somebody out, you better know who you’re calling out before you call them out. That’s the bottom line. We took it to them.”
Mason wore a work shirt and name tag to his regular Tuesday press conference to illustrate the type of game he expected.
“Some of you guys don’t know who (former MAA fighter) Kimbo Slice is. Hopefully, you do,” Mason said Tuesday. “This isn’t a sanctioned fight. This a street fight. This is the SEC. It’s time to put on the hard hat, (grab) the lunch pail and get to work.”
Those comments were played over and over for the Gamecocks this week, including Saturday before they took the field.
“Every day since he said it, we heard it,” said Rico Dowdle, who pantomimed a boxing combination after scoring on a 2-yard run in the second quarter. South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp “said he called us out. Once he said it, we came out with a street fight mentality. My score I did the thing. The guy wants to say something like that, just go attack them.”
It was the first time South Carolina has surpassed 500 yards in an SEC game since Nov. 1, 2014, against Tennessee.
“I feel sorry for (Mason) now,” Bailey said. “He probably wishes he could take that back. It was personal for us.”
Muschamp would not acknowledge using Mason’s comments as a motivational tool. When asked after the game about them, he said only, “We rushed for 273 yards.” However, his true feelings were clear the moment South Carolina pulled up to Vanderbilt Stadium with buses identified by signs in the front window that read “Street Fight.”
The Gamecocks averaged 7 yards per play and only three turnovers, eight penalties and a five-of-12 ratio on third down conversions kept the game from being a bigger blowout. Vanderbilt pulled within three at 17-14 on a 2-yard scoring reception by Kalija Lipscomb, but South Carolina closed the game on a 20-0 run from there.
“You could tell what type of day it was going to be before the game,” said defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who had two sacks, two forced fumbles, two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup. “You could tell just going around looking at guys in the hotel. I could tell it was going to be a good day. (Mason) tried to show he was fired up about the game or whatever but the end result is the end result.”
South Carolina was playing for the first time since losing 41-17 to Georgia on Sept. 8. The Sept. 15 game against Marshall was canceled due to Hurricane Florence. In the two weeks between games, public opinion began to turn against the Gamecocks. South Carolina was favored to win at kickoff but the line fell throughout the week, and all four pickers on ESPN’s popular “College Gameday” crew predicted Saturday morning the Commodores would win.
A new star in the receiver spotlight? Shi Smith has career day in win over Vandy
NASHVILLE, TENN. Before the regulars made their mark, Shi Smith was the first South Carolina receiver to come alive Saturday in USC’s 37-14 win over Vanderbilt.
Deebo Samuel, as he usually does, did a little bit of everything with his 95 yards on nine touches. And Bryan Edwards, Samuel’s top sidekick, was again solid with three grabs for 47 yards. But Smith, the sophomore who can occasionally feel forgotten, was truly the Gamecocks’ spark at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Five minutes hadn’t passed in the second quarter and Smith already had a career-high for receiving yards. He finished with 119 and a touchdown on five catches.
Move over Samuel and Edwards, make room for Smith?
“I’m prepared,” Smith said when asked if he wants to share a spotlight with his more-known position mates. “I mean, I’ll do everything I need to do to be prepared for it. But I’m just going to stay humble and do what I need to do to do my job.”
Momentum for Saturday’s performance had been building since August. In preseason camp, USC quarterback Jake Bentley told reporters he sensed an definite advancement in Smith’s game.
“He’s made some plays where you just go ‘Wow, that’s a big-time play,’ ” Bentley said then of the former three-star recruit from Union, S.C.
Naturally, Bentley was hardly surprised by Saturday’s show. The two connected on the game’s third play from scrimmage — an easy 38-yard scoring strike to the right pylon.
“Day in and day out in practice, he brings the right mentality,” Bentley said of Smith. “He works hard every day. Watching the Georgia game, he got open a lot, so we knew he had the ability to get open a lot this game.
“It was a point of emphasis all week to get him the ball. We knew he had a chance to make explosive plays and that’s what he did.”
The Bentley-Smith duo nearly combined for another TD in the second quarter, but settled for a 52-yard gain after Smith was stopped at the Vandy 2-yard line. Of Bentley’s first six completions, four of them went to Smith.
Credit a chunk of that to favorable matchups, said Carolina coach Will Muschamp.
Smith often found himself in single coverage against a Vandy slot cornerback.
“(Smith’s) a really good player,” Muschamp said. “We felt really good about the matchup in the slot. We’ll feel good about that matchup a lot of weeks. He’s a good football player. We’ve got some weapons on offense, (but) we’ve got to continue to get him the ball.”
In two career games against Vandy, Smith has 10 receptions for 195 yards and two scores.
“I feel very confident,” Smith said. “We’ve been working every day in practice. (Bentley) told me it was going to happen, and we went out there and made the plays.
Thumbs up, thumbs down: South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt
Jake Bentley to Shi Smith
By halftime, South Carolina’s quarterback (Bentley) had found the young receiver for a pair of massive gains. They tormented Vanderbilt slot corners to the tune of 119 yards on five catches.
Rico Dowdle did the most damage with 112 yards on 20 carries, but the game was a nice return for A.J. Turner. He was a top runner the past two seasons but had a quiet start this year. He finished with 64 yards on nine carries that included sprints of 19 and 15 yards.
Javon Kinlaw, the terror
South Carolina’s top defensive tackle didn’t finish the game after a toe injury put a scare in him. Even in an abbreviated game, he had two strip-sacks, another tackle for loss, a pass breakup and five total tackles.
The up-tempo attack
USC’s high-paced attack seemed to be working on all cylinders. The Gamecocks ran nearly 80 plays. They broke out 534 yards. They went quick on the opening drives of both halves and did their damage.
South Carolina gave up five runs of 10 yards or longer, and four passes of at least 15 yards. A lot of that came from issues with tackling, something USC still needs to clean up.
Closing the deal
The Gamecocks built an early lead and let the Commodores keep it close for a while. There were a few chances squandered before finally closing the door.
USC looked to be in position to close things down in a big way. Then Dowdle fumbled in the red zone, and Turner lost it late in a big run. The rain factored in.
Just staying healthy
For stretches, South Carolina lost Kinlaw, Dowdle, Bryan Edwards and didn’t have Rashad Fenton for most of the game. USC has some pieces, but it’s not in position to take a ton of attrition.