South Carolina used a ball-control offense to gain a narrow 20-14 win over Vanderbilt Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Gamecocks came back twice from 4-point deficits and ground out the victory behind the running of Corey Jenkins and Andrew Pinnock.
The Gamecocks limited the Vanderbilt offense less than 250 yards while gaining 398 themselves.
"It's the same story - another close game that we didn't win," said Vandy coach Bobby Johnson. "I thought our guys played hard and well most of the game. I think some of their (USC) good athletes made some good plays that allowed them to win the football game. Overall, I thought the guys got a little tougher and played hard."
South Carolina took a 3-0 lead after Daniel Weaver kicked a 28-yard field goal with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter. That drive was highlighted by two controversial pass interference calls that went against Vanderbilt.
The Commodores took a 7-3 lead when Jay Cutler found Dan Stricker for a 3-yard scoring pass with 11:04 remaining in the first half. Vanderbilt converted on three first downs on that drive.
South Carolina backup quarterback Dondrial Pinkins tossed a 24-yard scoring pass to Troy Williamson with 30 seconds remaining in the first half to allow USC to take the a 10-7 halftime lead.
Vanderbilt struck on its first possession of the second half when Jay Cutler completed an 11-yard scoring pass to senior M.J. Garrett. Vanderbilt led 14-10 with 8:58 remaining in the third quarter.
The Gamecocks took the lead for good when quarterback Corey Jenkins scored on a run up the middle from 13 yards to give USC a 17-14 lead.
With 1:41 remaining in the game South Carolina tacked on a 29-yard field goal to make the final score South Carolina 20, Vanderbilt 14.
On its last possession Vanderbilt drove to its own 40-yard line, but Cutler threw his only interception of the day on fourth and long to extinguish any Vanderbilt upset hopes.
South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins had an outstanding game. Jenkins rushed for 101 yards while passing for 177. "He was good running and a couple times we had him pinned in the backfield and we didn't get him sacked when we should have. They ended up getting big plays when we should have been getting big plays", said a somber Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson to the Vanderbilt ISP Radio Network after the game.
With the loss Vanderbilt drops to 1-4. The Commodores are idle next week, and host MTSU next on Oct. 5. South Carolina (3-2) hosts Mississippi State next week in Columbia, S.C.
The Gamecocks have now defeated Vanderbilt three seasons in a row and have extended their all-time series lead over Vandy to 10-2.