<
>

Brian Maddox runs for 146 yards, TD as S. Carolina bounces back

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve Spurrier always seems to have something up his sleeve. This time, it was ... his third-team tailback?

With star freshman Marcus Lattimore out and his offense sputtering again, the South Carolina coach turned to Brian Maddox to avoid another embarrassing outcome against Vanderbilt. The senior answered with a career-high 146 yards and the game-clinching touchdown to lead the Gamecocks (No. 21 BCS, No. 19 AP) to a difficult 21-7 win over the Commodores on Saturday night, giving Spurrier his 40th win with South Carolina.

"I was just putting it in slow-mo," Maddox said. "That really helped me. Once I saw the hole, I jetted in it so fast and hard and powerful."

The victory snapped South Carolina's seven-game Southeastern Conference road losing streak that dated back to 2008 and more importantly put the Gamecocks (5-2, 3-2) in first place in the SEC East.

Spurrier once dominated Vanderbilt when he coached at Florida, but has struggled with the Commodores since moving to Columbia, where he's 40-40. The Gamecocks needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to beat Vanderbilt 14-10 last season and with Lattimore out South Carolina continued to struggle in the series.

It had lost two of the last three to Vanderbilt (2-5, 1-3) and another loss to the Commodores would have been disastrous with the division title a realistic goal.

Maddox entered the game and replaced ineffective starter Kenny Miles on South Carolina's fourth series with less than 6 minutes left in the first half. He wasn't immediately successful either, but began to wear down the Vanderbilt defense midway through the third quarter when he rushed for 48 yards on South Carolina's game-turning 93-yard drive.

He capped it with a 2-yard score for a 14-7 lead that seemed to shake the Gamecocks awake and forced the Commodores to pay attention to the run.

"Brian did excellent," Spurrier said. "Kenny just couldn't get a hole. I feel bad for Kenny but when Brian got his chance he was making things happen. He got the game ball."

Vanderbilt had terrorized South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia up to that point. The Commodores sacked Garcia four times -- half their season total -- and hurried him several times in the first half, and the mistake-prone Gamecocks couldn't get going with drives ending on sacks, an errant snap and Casey Hayward's SEC-leading fifth interception.

Garcia had focused on the short passing game, mostly focusing on Tori Gurley and the left flat. Maddox's success with cutback runs, though, opened things up and that paid immediately dividends for Garcia.

He hit Gurley with a 24-yard pass to set up Maddox's run, then caught Vanderbilt in man coverage on a 72-yard touchdown strike to Alshon Jeffery down the right sideline midway through the fourth quarter to finish off the Commodores.

"It was a thing of beauty," Spurrier said.

Gurley finished with career highs of 13 catches and 109 yards. Jeffery had nine catches for 158 yards, giving the Gamecocks two receivers with 100 yards in the same game for the first time since 2006. Garcia also hit Gurley for a 15-yarder on a quick-strike 51-second drive at the end of the first half to tie the game after Larry Smith put Vanderbilt up on a 3-yard run.

Garcia hit 31 of 39 passes for 355 yards a week after throwing for 382 in loss to Kentucky last week, but did most of his damage after Maddox started doing his.

"I take advantage of all my opportunities, which I haven't been given many," Maddox said. "You've got to take advantage of every single one. I did that tonight."

Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell couldn't say the same about his Commodores, but was able to take positives away from the game a week after the Commodores were dusted 43-0 at Georgia. He wasn't satisfied, though.

"It was a great comeback from last week as far as defensive effort," Caldwell said. "We played a good football team tonight and had a chance to beat them. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. There's no excuses."

Comments

ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • Under Armour Youth South Carolina Gamecocks White #28 Replica Football JerseyPrice: $44.99 Shop

NCAAF News

  • Top 5 heartbreaking plays

    During Valentine's Day, relive the worst heartbreaking moments sports teams put their fans through in 2015, including Michigan's debacle over Michigan State and a costly error from the Mets in the World Series.

  • RVR Photos/USA TODAY Sports

    Lawsuit alleging Tennessee 'hostile sexual environment' cites Manning incident

    A lawsuit claiming that the University of Tennessee has violated Title IX policies and created a "hostile sexual environment" includes an alleged incident involving former Vols QB Peyton Manning.

  • Early Commit: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire to LSU

    LSU added to its future running back group by picking up a commitment from the playmaking Edwards-Helaire.

  • Wild ending at Cameron Indoor

    Check out the final seconds of Duke's win over Virginia, with the Cavaliers' Malcolm Brogdon scoring a go-ahead layup, followed by Grayson Allen driving to the other end to score an off-balance bucket at the buzzer.

  • Notre Dame/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

    John Lattner, won Heisman at Notre Dame in 1953, dies at 83

    John Lattner, the 1953 Heisman Trophy winner who helped lead Notre Dame to a 9-0-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in Frank Leahy's final year as coach, has died. He was 83.

  • Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

    LSU hires Jabbar Juluke as running backs coach

    Jabbar Juluke, the former running backs coach at Louisiana Tech who spent just one month at Texas Tech, will assume the same role on Les Miles' staff at LSU.