USC beats Vandy 21-3 despite 4 Garcia interceptions

Lattimore scores on a 52 yard catch.
Lattimore scores on a 52 yard catch.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The 12th ranked Gamecocks moved to 4-0 after beating Vanderbilt 21-3 Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Marcus Lattimore scored two touchdowns and had 150 total yards from scrimmage.

The Gamecocks (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) won on defense, holding the Commodores (3-1, 1-1) to 77 yards.

South Carolina is 4-0 for the first time in coach Steve Spurrier's seven years with the team.

But it was frustrating for the coach. Quarterback Stephen Garcia threw four interceptions.

Garcia did throw his third touchdown pass, as many as defensive end Melvin Ingram has now scored this season. Ingram recovered a teammate's fumble in the end zone to go with two sacks, a tackle for an 8-yard loss and swatted away a pass.

Here's how it played out:


The Gamecocks' first drive stalled when Stephen Garcia, who made his 33rd career start, threw an interception deep in Vandy's territory at the 7 yard line.

After Vandy went three and out, the Gamecocks started again at their own 31 yard line. Facing 4th down and 1 on their own 41 yard line, Coach Spurrier elected to go for it, but Stephen Garcia was stopped short and Vanderbilt got the ball in good field position.

Vandy went three and out again and pinned USC deep in their own end.

During the ensuing drive, Stephen Garcia then threw his second interception of the game and Vandy returned it to the USC 22 yard line.

The Commodores were not able to move the ball and settled for a 33 yard field goal.  3-0 Vanderbilt with 1:54 left in the 1st quarter.


After one quarter, the Gamecocks had 81 yards of total offense. Garcia is 5-10 for 51 yards, but had 2 interceptions. Vanderbilt had 16 yards of total offense, but lead 3-0.

During the first drive of the 2nd quarter, Garcia threw his 3rd interception of the game and Vandy took over on their own 36 yard line.

Momentum, however, shifted to the Gamecocks. Freshman DE Jadeveon Clowney grabbed Vandy's QB Larry Smith and forced him to cough up the ball. Antonio Allen picked it up, but dropped it. As the ball rolled into the end zone, Melvin Ingram picked it up for a Gamecock touchdown. 7-3 USC with 11:58 left in the half.

After the two teams traded possessions for most of the quarter, Garcia hit Marcus Lattimore on a short pass and he exploded for a 52 yard touchdown. 14-3 USC at the half.

Halftime stats: Passing: Garcia: 8-17, 112 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT. Rushing: Lattimore 7 rushes for 20 yards. Receiving: Lattimore 3 catches for 73 yards, 1 TD.


The 2nd half remained scoreless until about halfway through the 3rd quarter. Marcus Lattimore scored his second touchdown of the game on a 22 yard run. 21-3 USC.

After Jay Wooten missed a field goal try, the Gamecock defense stepped up again. Jadeveon Clowney forced Vandy QB Larry Smith to fumble for the second time in the game. The Gamecocks took over at Vandy's 31 yard line.


In the 4th, the Gamecocks were knocking on the door when Garcia threw his 4th interception when he tried to hit Alshon Jeffery with a sort of "shot put" pass at the goal line. Vandy returned it to their own 25 yard line.

Spurrier then decided to pull Garcia in favor of Connor Shaw.

Final: 21-3

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.