Thursday, August 30, 2012
Instant analysis: S. Carolina 17, Vandy 13
By Edward Aschoff
South Carolina's offense rarely looked pretty, but it did just enough behind a quarterback whose right arm was barely attached for most of the night, as the Gamecocks won their season opener against Vanderbilt 17-13.
South Carolina's defense frustrated Vandy's offense all night, but the Commodores missed a lot of opportunities in the passing game against a young Gamecocks secondary.
Vanderbilt's defense was impressive all night as well, as the Commodores limited South Carolina to 270 total offensive yards and forced two turnovers.
It was over when: Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers' pass to Jordan Matthews on fourth-and-7 at Vandy's 38-yard line fell incomplete, giving South Carolina the ball with 1:47 remaining. It clearly looked like pass interference should have been called on the play, but the Gamecocks got the ball and ran the clock out.
Game ball goes to: South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw showed the ultimate grit by coming back with a hurt shoulder and taking a bunch of licks, but Marcus Lattimore was the best player on the field for the Gamecocks on Thursday night. Almost a year removed from his season-ending knee injury, Lattimore pounded his way to 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat of the game: Both teams were awful on third down, combining to go 6-for-27 on conversion attempts.
What it means for South Carolina: The Gamecocks got a bit of a scare from the Commodores, but a win is a win, and this team is 1-0 in conference play. More specifically, the Gamecocks are 1-0 in SEC East play. The offense certainly needs a lot of work in the passing game, and Shaw needs a lot of rest.
What it means for Vanderbilt: The Commodores certainly would have preferred to beat South Carolina, but you have to be impressed with the effort. Both lines held their own for the most part and the defense took the passing game away even before Shaw's injury. The Commodores are 0-1, but this team showed that the swagger from last year still remains.