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Rain-drenched rush attack propels Gamecocks past Vandy

291 days ago
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The South Carolina Gamecocks ran the ball so well on a rainy, sloppy day that quarterback Collin Hill would not have minded if he never threw the ball.

Hill ran for two touchdowns and Kevin Harris ran for two TDs and a career-high 171 yards as the South Carolina Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt 41-7 Saturday for their first victory of the season.

"I just like winning," Hill said.

The Gamecocks (1-2, 1-2 SEC) won their 12th straight in this series by dominating Vanderbilt 486-249 in total offense and three sacks on a rainy day. South Carolina had more yards rushing (290) than the Commodores had total yards.

Harris, the sophomore running back limited last season by an injured groin, had himself a day. He ran for a 25-yard TD early in the third, and he added a career-long 88-yarder early in the fourth. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said Harris gets better as the game goes on.

"You get tired of hitting him, and there's nothing really soft on his body," Muschamp said. "He's got a short stature but he's a very muscular guy. He runs with high knees, he gets behind his pads and when you take him on there's nothing there that's soft to hit. He's a guy that wears on people as the game continues to go."

Vanderbilt (0-3, 0-3) remains winless after having 56 scholarship players available for this game, just three above the limit set by the Southeastern Conference for a team to play a game. The Commodores already had six players opt out of this season.

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said he learned Thursday that his numbers would be limited by injuries and contact tracing during a pandemic.

"These are challenging times, and I think in challenging times what you've got to do is just take it one day at a time ..." Mason said.

Parker White kicked a pair of field goals, including a 43-yarder that gave the Gamecocks the lead for good in the first quarter.

Vanderbilt had its chances early to either tie or take a lead. Pierson Cooke missed a 29-yard field goal wide right for Vanderbilt and is now 1 of 4 this season.

In the second quarter, the Commodores went for it on fourth-and-2 at the South Carolina 3. Freshman Ken Seals rolled right and wound up being tackled, missing the chance to throw to a receiver in the end zone when open or run himself.

"We had a chip on our shoulder because we were 0-2," Gamecocks linebacker Ernest Jones said.

Hill hit Nick Muse with a 32-yard pass, starting a 12-play, 96-yard drive that the South Carolina quarterback capped himself for a 14-point swing. Hill went over the top for a 1-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 2:09 left in the first half.

South Carolina scored the final 24 points. Hill ran for a 10-yard TD in the third, and Harris broke loose for his 88-yarder and Dakereon Joyner had a 47-yard TD, both in the fourth.

GAME CHANGER

Carolina scored the final 24 points of the game, starting with a 10-yard Collin Hill touchdown run with 4:22 left in the third quarter. Kevin Harris sealed the win with an 88-yard touchdown run with 13:07 left in the fourth, the longest run by a Carolina back since 2006.

KEY STAT

171 - Harris has back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances after his 171 yards on 21 carries on the ground in the Vandy win. It was part of 289 rushing yards for the Gamecocks in the victory.

UP NEXT

Carolina hosts Auburn next Saturday (Oct. 17) at noon inside Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised on either ESPN or SEC Network.