Friday, December 13, 2002
No. 19 South Carolina 30, Vanderbilt 14
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The South Carolina Gamecocks aren't ready to stop their dream season just yet.
Andrew Pinnock ran for two touchdowns and Derek Watson added another as the No. 19 Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt 30-14 Saturday.
The victory ensures South Carolina (7-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) its best finish in the conference since joining in 1992, and the team that couldn't win a game in 1999 now holds a half-game lead over No. 7 Florida in the SEC Eastern Division.
South Carolina had a chance for a letdown. The Gamecocks were playing their third road game in four weeks against the SEC's perennial cellar dweller, which had beaten the Gamecocks the past two years. They avenged those losses by sealing the 18th losing season for Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-5), a loser of eight straight SEC games dating to last season.
Pinnock ran for 135 yards on 24 carries, and Watson had 19 carries for 128 yards as South Carolina rolled up 490 yards offense in controlling the clock for more than 37 minutes.
The Gamecocks broke open a 10-7 game just before halftime with a fake field goal.
Vanderbilt declined a holding penalty on third-and-10 that would have backed the Gamecocks up, and holder Kevin Sides, who started at quarterback once last season, tossed a 10-yard pass to Rod Trafford for first-and-goal at the Vandy 5. Pinnock scored on the next play on a 5-yard run for a 17-7 lead.
Watson padded the lead on the opening possession of the third quarter when he broke loose for a 34-yard TD up the right sideline.
Vanderbilt had its chances to keep hopes of its own winning season alive. The Commodores managed 362 yards offense against a defense that was the nation's ninth-stingiest, and they scored only the second passing TD against that unit this season when Greg Zolman hit Dan Stricker with a 35-yard TD pass for a 7-0 lead on the opening drive.
Ray Perkins' 9-yard TD run pulled them to 24-14 in the third quarter, and that was the score when Jimmy Williams intercepted Phil Petty's pass at 11:27 of the fourth quarter. The Commodores stopped themselves with all three of their turnovers in the final 10 minutes.
South Carolina finished the scoring on a fake punt, with Rashad Faison running 30 yards with 2:41 remaining.
Pinnock scored both of his touchdowns in the first half. His 8-yarder capped South Carolina's opening drive. The Gamecocks went ahead 10-7 on Daniel Weaver's 22-yard field goal that capped their longest drive this season after they went 19 yards and ate up 8:33 of the clock in the second quarter.