SEC Football: Vandy Tries to Anchor Down on 9th-Ranked Gamecocks

Callie MannContributor IIAugust 30, 2012

South Carolina's RB Marcus Lattimore
South Carolina's RB Marcus LattimoreKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On a rainy night in Nashville, Tennessee, the 2012 NCAA football season kicked off. Vanderbilt hosted the ninth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks and head coach Steve Spurrier in a highly anticipated match.

In their first three possessions, the Gamecocks had two turnovers. Although Vanderbilt, under the direction of head coach James Franklin, could not convert on scoring off those turnovers, they remained a contender in the game.

On the next series, with seven minutes remaining in the first half, the Gamecocks intercepted and returned it for 37 yards. The Commodores answered with a 78-yard reception touchdown from Jordan Rodgers to Jordan Matthews.

Going into halftime, it was tied 10-10, and South Carolina's quarterback Connor Shaw was visibly hurt, with a shoulder injury to his throwing arm.

Shaw would not start the third quarter until South Carolina's third series. Vanderbilt took the lead 13-10, with 6:02 to go in the third quarter. Junior kicker, Casey Spears, hit a 44-yard field goal to give Vandy the lead.

With 11:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Shaw tries to run it in on first and goal. He falls short and re-injures his shoulder. Shaw leaves for a play, but Marcus Lattimore drives it in-two plays later—to put the Gamecocks back on top, 17-13.

Commodore kickoff returner, junior DB Andre Hal, answers on the kickoff with a 52-yard return, setting the offense up in good field position. Again, Vandy cannot convert on the series, as the visiting defense would sack Rodgers for the fifth time with five minutes left in the game.

The Gamecocks would maintain possession and the lead, Lattimore, finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns. Connor Shaw, with a shoulder bruise, completed 67 yards in passing (with one interception) and 92 yards in rushing to lead his team to a victory.

Game Notes: Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews would finish with eight catches, giving him 147 yards in receiving and one touchdown.

Kali Mann is a sports correspondent for Duhamel Broadcasting and can be reached at