Friday, December 13, 2002
South Carolina 24, Ohio State 7
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Watson's loss was Ryan Brewer's gain.
Getting an opportunity for increased playing time with the suspension of Watson, the Ohio native almost single-handidly helped South Carolina cap its turnaround season with a 24-7 victory over No. 18 Ohio State in the Outback Bowl.
A 1,000-yard rusher, Watson was suspended for the game by South Carolina coach Lou Holtz for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Brewer, a wide receiver by trade, filled in more than capably, accounting for 214 all-purpose yards and scoring all three South Carolina touchdowns. He rushed for a seven-yard TD early in the third quarter, caught a 28-yard TD pass 43 seconds into the fourth period and ran for a two-yard score with six minutes remaining.
The 5-10, 205-pound sopohomore burned his home state team by rushing for 109 yards on 19 carries and catching three passes for 92 yards. He also had a punt return for 13 yards.
In their second year under Holtz, the Gamecocks (8-4) shook off a season-ending three-game losing streak to reach eight wins for the first time since 1988. South Carolina entered the campaign with a 21-game losing streak.
Holtz has become immensely popular in Columbia, signing a lucrative contract extension during the season.
The win was a milestone of sorts for Holtz, who has taken all six teams he has coached to a bowl game in his second season at the helm. Holtz, who captured a national championship at Notre Dame following the 1988 season, defeated Ohio State for the first time in five meetings.
South Carolina earned its first bowl victory since defeating West Virginia, 24-21, in the 1995 Carquest Bowl. Ohio State coach John Cooper, who has been frequently criticized by Buckeyes' fans, will not receive as favorable a welcome. The Buckeyes (8-4) were disappointed they did not get a berth in the Rose Bowl and seemed disinterested throughout most of Monday's contest.
The first half was a defensive struggle, with South Carolina managing only a 3-0 lead on Jason Corse's 23-yard field goal with 12:48 remaining in the second period.
But South Carolina's stingy defense continued to dominate as the Gamecocks converted three Ohio State turnovers into a pair of touchdowns during a 21-point second half.
|Ryan Brewer filled in for Derek Watson with 109 yards on 19 carries.|