Scores

Final

(9) South Carolina 17

(1-0, 1-0 SEC)

Vanderbilt 13

(0-1, 0-1 SEC)

Coverage: ESPN

7:00 PM ET, August 30, 2012

Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN

1 2 3 4 T
#9SC 7 3 0 717
VAN 0 10 3 013

Top Performers

Passing: J. Rodgers (VAN) - 214 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Lattimore (SC) - 23 CAR, 110 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: J. Matthews (SOU) - 8 REC, 147 YDS, 1 TD

Marcus Lattimore, Connor Shaw lift No. 9 South Carolina past Vanderbilt

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ninth-ranked South Carolina and coach Steve Spurrier got a big scare to open the season. Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw helped the Gamecocks grind their way through past scrappy Vanderbilt.

Lattimore ran for two touchdowns and 110 yards in his first game back after tearing his left ACL, and Shaw ran for 92 yards while playing the second half with an injured shoulder as South Carolina rallied for a 17-13 victory against Vanderbilt on Thursday night.

"Maybe it's good for us ...," Spurrier said. "You look at the preseason press, we thought we were hot stuff. Then we almost got that stuff beat out of us."

This is the highest ranking South Carolina ever has started a season, and the Gamecocks are expected to challenge for an SEC East title after going 11-2 last season.

But Shaw bruised his right, throwing shoulder late in the first half and missed the first two series of the third quarter before returning. The junior drove the Gamecocks for the go-ahead touchdown and ran 12 yards to the Vandy 1 before rolling in pain in the end zone.

Lattimore scored the go-ahead TD on a 1-yard run with 11:25 to go.

"They gave me some medicine," Shaw said. "I got a ball and just started working out, I didn't want it to get stiff on me. It was painful, but I got through it."

Spurrier called Shaw's performance gutsy after taking a helmet to the shoulder blade that left his throwing shoulder bruised but not dislocated. Spurrier said Shaw even assured him he could pick up a first down inside the final minute to make sure the Gamecocks ran out the clock to seal the win.

"He'll be sore for a while. I think he should be OK. Had some nice runs there. He was hurting a little bit. That's what it took," Spurrier said.

Vanderbilt had plenty of time to attempt a comeback, the last with 5:08 left. But the Commodores turned it over on downs with 1:47 to go when Jordan Matthews couldn't handle a fourth-down pass from Jordan Rodgers. Gamecocks defensive back D.J. Swearinger appeared to grab Matthews' arm before the ball arrived.

"You did know the SEC just came out with very clear rules about talking about the officials and what happens after games," Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said. "Trying to get me fined?"

Matthews refused to comment on the no-call, though he waved his arms looking for a flag.

"I've got to get more open," Matthews said.

Vanderbilt didn't have the sellout crowd Franklin wanted, but most of the 38,393 who did turn out were wearing black as part of a "blackout." The Commodores came up with three sacks and forced two turnovers, and they outgained South Carolina 276-272 in total offense. But South Carolina had a 115-17 advantage in the fourth quarter.

"At some point, we've got to find a way to win these tough games," Franklin said. "The margin of error is not real big for us."

But South Carolina had Lattimore and Shaw running through and around the Commodores all night long. Lattimore played for the first time since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament last October. The Gamecocks also got five sacks, and Shaq Wilson came up with an interception to end a Vandy scoring threat that set up Lattimore's first TD, a 29-yarder in the first quarter.

"We couldn't get much passing, so we had to at least try to run and get a touchdown or two and let our defense play," Spurrier said. "And fortunately, our defense held them to 13."

The Gamecocks' night started off with two turnovers and a penalty on their first four offensive plays. Lattimore lost a fumble on his first carry. Spurrier used three different quarterbacks, including senior Seth Strickland who's only on the depth chart as a holder when Shaw shuffled to the sideline holding his right arm close to his side to protect his aching shoulder.

"I hated that happening, but I just had to forget about it," Lattimore said of his fumble. "After a few runs, I started to feel like myself again."

South Carolina finished with 67 yards passing, a rare stat for a Spurrier-coached team.

"I hope we play a lot better offensively next week," Spurrier said of the home opener against East Carolina.

Even with the ugly start, South Carolina jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Vanderbilt came right back with 10 straight points to tie it up going into halftime.

Rodgers threw a 78-yard TD pass to Matthews in the second quarter as Vanderbilt scored 10 straight points to tie up the Gamecocks. Carey Spear put Vanderbilt ahead 13-10 with his second field goal, a 44-yarder, with 6:51 left in the third quarter.

Shaw was hurt at the end of a 2-yard run down to the Vanderbilt 46 late in the first half. He went to the sideline before going to the locker room where he was examined. Dylan Thompson finished the half and oversaw two three-and-outs to start the second half before Shaw ran back to the Gamecocks' sideline.

The junior quarterback, who now has won nine of his 10 starts, came back into the game with 6:02 left in the third quarter. He went three-and-out himself before putting together the game-winning drive. The big play was a 20-yard pass to Justice Cunningham. Officials flagged Vanderbilt cornerback Andre Hal for hitting a defenseless receiver above the shoulder, knocking the Cunningham's helmet off.

Hal tried to make up for the penalty with a 52-yard kickoff return, but the Commodores punted it back after going three-and-out to lose momentum.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SC
VAN
1st Downs1711
Total Yards272276
Passing67214
Rushing20562
Penalties6-305-35
3rd Down Conversions3-123-15
4th Down Conversions1-11-4
Turnovers21
Possession31:3628:24

Passing Leaders

South CarolinaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Shaw7/11676.101
VanderbiltC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Rodgers13/232149.311

Rushing Leaders

South CarolinaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lattimore231104.8229
Shaw14926.6020
VanderbiltCARYDSAVGTDLG
Stacy13483.7017
Tate7172.408

Receiving Leaders

South CarolinaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lattimore3217.009
Cunningham12020.0020
VanderbiltRECYDSAVGTDLG
Matthews814718.4178
Grady13232.0032

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSCVAN
TD04:55Marcus Lattimore 29 Yd Run (Adam Yates Kick) 70
SECOND QUARTERSCVAN
FG11:44Adam Yates 20 Yd 100
TD10:37Jordan Matthews 78 Yd Pass From Jordan Rodgers (Carey Spear Kick) 107
FG06:51Carey Spear 25 Yd 1010
THIRD QUARTERSCVAN
FG06:02Carey Spear 44 Yd 1013
FOURTH QUARTERSCVAN
TD11:25Marcus Lattimore 1 Yd Run (Adam Yates Kick) 1713

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore combined for 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns on zone-read plays Thursday against Vanderbilt. South Carolina ran 21 zone reads that involved Shaw and Lattimore, gaining an average of 5.8 yards per play, including four 10-plus yard rushes. For Lattimore it was his second most rushing yards on zone-read plays in a game. He had 116 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 against Georgia in 2010.
  [+]
If you think you're used to seeing South Carolina on the first Thursday night of the college football season, you're right. It's been a staple of the Steve Spurrier era. They've done it six times in the Spurrier era and won each time.
  [+]
* South Carolina is now 9-0 when Marcus Lattimore has at least 100 rushing yards. The Gamecocks are just 6-6 when he rushes for less than 100 yards. * Marcus Lattimore has at least 1 rushing TD in all 9 of his career August/September games.
South Carolina has turned the ball over twice in its first three plays from scrimmage. The Gamecocks only turned the ball over twice during their four-game win streak to finish the 2011 season.
Marcus Lattimore fumbled on his first carry of the season. In his first two seasons at South Carolina, he only fumbled three times on 412 carries.

ESPN Stats & Information