With Vanderbilt on the USC 5 yard line, the senior linebacker picked off a Jordan Rodgers pass and returned it 37 yards late in the first quarter to set up the Gamecocks’ first touchdown drive of the season.
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Despite a fumble on his first carry, the junior tailback looked like his former self on his second carry — a 29-yard touchdown run to give the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. He finished with a 100-yard game.
Not only did dedicated Gamecock followers fill nearly four sections on the visitors’ side of the stadium, they poured into the honky tonk district of Broadway Avenue the night before the game.
The junior quarterback showed his considerable toughness by coming off the bench with a shoulder injury and gritting his way through the second half to lead the comeback win.
The senior tight end lost his helmet but not the ball on a jarring hit from a Vanderbilt defender in the fourth quarter. Cunningham's catch went for 20 yards, and the play was accompanied by a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Commodores. Lattimore scored the go-ahead touchdown on the drive.
South Carolina sacked Jordan Rodgers five times with five different players. Kelcy Quarles led the way with eight tackles and a sack. Wilson also had eight tackles, adding the interception. Jimmy Legree had seven tackles.
The running game
Lattimore and Shaw combined for 202 of South Carolina's 205 yards on the ground. Each had a carry of 20 yards or more.
The first big breakdown of the season came on an 87-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Rodgers to Jordan Matthews that allowed the Commodores to get back into the game in the second quarter as they cut the lead to 10-7. A 32-yard pass play later led to a Vanderbilt field goal in the same quarter that tied the score.
Shaw went out in the second quarter with a shoulder contusion. In a close game, the Gamecocks couldn’t afford for their only veteran signal-caller to exit.
The passing game
The Gamecocks completed seven passes all night, and threw were to Lattimore. Ace Sanders had two catches, Damiere Byrd added one and Cunningham added the other.
Shaw threw an interception and Lattimore fumbled, but the Gamecocks missed three chances to recover Vanderbilt fumbles. The biggest impact of that came in the second quarter when the Commodores fumbled a kickoff. Two plays later, Vanderbilt scored on the 78-yard touchdown.
- Compiled by Neil White and Dwayne McLemore