Gamecocks win opener as road underdogs

Gamecocks win opener as road underdogs
September 02 13:47 2016 Print This Article

The Will Muschamp era began Thursday as 4 1/2 point underdogs at Vanderbilt and lots of uncertainty. Muschamp did not name Perry Orth the starting quarterback until moments before kickoff.

Orth really struggled from the outset with the Gamecocks stalling on their first three drives. Dropped passes plagued the Gamecock offense in the first half. Freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain replaced Orth in the second quarter and had several impressive runs before fumbling inside the Vanderbilt 20 yardline.

Trailing 10-0 at halftime, Muschamp went back to Orth in the second half. Freshmen Bryan Edwards (receiver) and A. J. Turner (running back) brought the Gamecocks back to life in the second half. Edwards ended with 101 receiving yards and Turner rushed for 70.

Receiver Deebo Samuel tied the score 10-10 with 7:39 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Commodores then mounted a drive which ended with kicker Tommy Openshaw missing a 45-yard field goal attempt with 3:50 left on the clock.

Orth engineered a slow, steady drive with time ticking down. Facing fourth down at the Vanderbilt 38 yardline, Muschamp chose to send senior kicker Elliott Fry onto the field to attempt a 55-yard field goal. Fry, who is nominated for the Lou Groza Award for the best college kicker, nailed the 55-yarder with 39 seconds left to give Muschamp his first win at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks face Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State Saturday, September 10 in Starkville, Mississippi.