Late South Carolina field goal dooms Vanderbilt, 13-10

Vanderbilt fell to South Carolina 13-10 on Thursday night after Elliott Fry booted a field goal from 55 yards with 35 seconds remaining in the game. The Commodores built a 10-0 lead in the first half but USC clawed its way back into the game in the second half with two Fry field goals and a Deebo Samuel touchdown run.

Vanderbilt drew first blood with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter when Commodore kicker Tommy Openshaw connected on a 36-yard field goal to put up 3-0.  Early in the second quarter the Commodores added another score when Khari Blasingame bulled into the end zone for a 1-yard score to extend the Commodore lead to 10-0.  Blasingame finished with 68 rushing yards on 15 carries.  

After the touchdown by Blasingame the Commodore staff decided to go with Wade Freebeck as the quarterback in place of starter Kyle Shurmur. It didn't go well.  Not really because Freebeck was horrible, he wasn't, but when Shurmur returned to play after being replaced he didn't seem himself, missing several passes badly.  Shurmur went on to complete just 8-of-22 passes for 73 yards.  Mason explained after the game that the goal was to give Freebeck reps in case Shurmur was injured. 

"Wade is one play away from having to start," said Mason.  [If] Kyle went out for whatever reason, I didn't want [that snap] to be Wade's first snap."

While Vandy's offense spun it wheels in the second half, the Gamecocks were able to get things going.  Elliott Fry made his first field goal with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter, a 48-yard kick that pulled the Gamecocks to within one score at 10-3.   Later, in the fourth quarter, as the Commodores continued to sputter on offense and suffered from a devastating Tommy Openshaw missed field goal that would have put Vandy back up by 10, USC put together a 9-play, 84-yard drive. Deebo Samuel's 8-yard run followed by Fry's PAT tied the score at 10. The Gamecocks finally caught up with the Commodores with  35 seconds remaining in the game when Fry made a  55-yarder that put USC on top for the first time during the game, 13-10.   Vanderbilt would never lead again.  

The Commodores had one last drive which started with 35 seconds remaining to pull out a win or tie the game but Shurmur was sacked for a 10-yard loss and Vandy failed to gain a single yard on its final drive.   

Ralph Webb finished the game with 97 yards on 20 carries (4.8 ypc).  Kyle Shurmur completed just 8-of-22 passes for 73 yards. 

Vanderbilt, which gained 242 yards total offense, fell to 0-1 (0-1 SEC) with  the loss.  The Commodores have now lost 3-straight home openers under Derek Mason.  Vandy will host Middle Tennessee on Saturday.  South Carolina (1-0, 1-0 SEC) now has a 22-4 lead in its all-time series with Vanderbilt.  


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