It took seven weeks but the South Carolina Gamecocks got their first win in the SEC and third overall, with a 19-10 victory over Vanderbilt. Although they got the win the Gamecocks needed Elliott Fry four times to provide offense in a game full of drives that seemed incomplete.
It didn't take very long for the Gamecocks to start making plays as the Vanderbilt offense managed just three plays before South Carolina recovered a fumble off of a stuffed Ralph Webb run. Although they gained possession at the Commodore's 24, South Carolina was only able to get a field goal after Perry Orth was sacked and unable to make up the lost ground, resulting in a promising 3-0 lead early. On the next possession the defense came up big again only allowing Vanderbilt to gain two first downs before they had to punt. Following the kick, South Carolina began it's most effective drive of the first half, marching 74 yards on 11 plays en route to a 31 yard Fry field goal. During the drive the Gamecocks got two big catches of over 20 yards as DJ Neal went for 28 and a couple plays later, Pharaoh Cooper had a 24 yard gain coming from Orth. There was a bit of a scare however as South Carolina recovered it's own fumble at Vandy's 13 which allowed them to still get three points on the board; 6-0 Gamecocks early on. Those two field goals would be all South Carolina could muster in the first half as the teams went back-and-forth trading punts until just minutes left in the half when Fry missed a 39 yard field goal. This setup Vanderbilt's touchdown, a four yard pass from Johnny McCrary to Caleb Scott; 7-6 Commodores.
Coming out of halftime it was Vanderbilt who struck first as they got a 23 yard field goal from Tommy Openshaw on their first possession in the second half. On the drive South Carolina couldn't seem to make plays on defense until it was too late as Darius Sims began with a 41 yard run and the offense then methodically moved inside the Gamecocks 5. Then it was Cooper who made a huge play for this team as Orth completed a 78 yard pass to the receiver giving South Carolina it's first touchdown; 13-10 Gamecocks. They didn't stop there. The following possession Bryson Allen-Williams picked off McCrary and Fry added his third field goal of the day, this one from 19 yards out as South Carolina was stuffed on the 1; 16-10 Gamecocks. After the short scoring spree things went back to the same for the two squads. Over the course of the next seven possessions there were four turnovers, two from each team, until the Gamecocks again got down inside Vanderbilt's 5. As you may have guessed, Fry finished yet another drive with a field goal, a 22 yarder, extending South Carolina's lead to 19-10. It was then up to the defense to finish out the win and on 4th and 3 with 34 seconds remaining McCrary's pass to Steven Scheu fell incomplete clinching the 19-10 victory for South Carolina.
Next week the Gamecocks have a bye, after which they will head to Texas A&M to take on an Aggies. With the performance today, South Carolina will need to do a better job of converting their redzone possessions into touchdowns if they hope to compete with nationally ranked Texas A&M.