The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 47-6 Saturday after an all-around performance from the offense, defense and special teams.
The game marks South Carolina's fourth win of the season.
Fifth-year wide receiver Xavier Legette cemented his name in the record books, finishing with 120 yards on nine receptions and becoming the fifth Gamecock to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
“He’s our best weapon. He’s a guy that’s very dimensional,” redshirt senior quarterback Spencer Rattler said. “He put in the work, and like we say, we’re not surprised (by) what he’s doing. He’s one of the best receivers in the country, and he’s putting it on display each and every week.”
The Rattler-to-Legette connection continued to be successful in week 10. Legette caught nine passes, including a 39-yard haul to take the team to the one-yard line and set up first and goal on the second offensive drive of the game.
South Carolina went to a big man to score the first touchdown for the second game in a row. Rattler lofted a pass to redshirt junior defensive tackle Alex Huntley, who made an easy catch. The snap on the extra point got away from the Gamecocks, so the scoreboard sat at 6-0.
“That’s kind of one of those movie moments that you see. It’s like, ‘Oh this is it,’” Huntley said.
Appearing in just his third game, freshman running back Djay Braswell helped the team extend the lead. He hauled in a short pass from Rattler but turned it into a 30-yard gain for the Gamecocks. Braswell was brought down at the one-yard line, and Rattler followed it up with a run-in touchdown to increase the lead to 13-0.
But it was not a perfect opening half for the Gamecock offense.
South Carolina marched down the field on a promising first drive until a dropped pass and quarterback pressure forced the Gamecocks to punt the ball away.
The team had a few of these missed opportunities, dropping three passes in the first half alone. Even with the poor weather conditions, head coach Shane Beamer did not attribute these mistakes to the weather.
“I think, certainly, the weather was an issue. There’s no excuse,” Beamer said. “No excuse to have a bad snap, no excuse to have five drops on the day … Vanderbilt was playing in the same elements.”
The offense’s efficiency slowed down toward the end of the second quarter after Vanderbilt junior cornerback Tyson Russell grabbed an interception.
But the Gamecocks' defense overwhelmed the Commodores' offense, forcing it off the field two drives in a row to end the half. Vanderbilt went into the locker room without scoring a point in the first half.
“There wasn’t a play out there where I thought we weren’t flying around and playing with great energy,” Beamer said.
Rattler got a few more receivers involved in the third quarter. He found freshman wide receiver Nyck Harbor for 16 yards, redshirt junior quarterback Luke Doty for 14 yards and fifth-year wide receiver Ahmarean Brown for a final 24-yard push to the endzone. His touchdown advanced the lead to 20-0.
The Gamecocks recorded its 10th big play of the game after redshirt senior running back Mario Anderson rushed straight through the Commodores' defense for 72 yards with nothing but green grass ahead of him.
Vanderbilt finally got on the scoreboard with a 19-yard touchdown catch in the first play of the fourth quarter. The drive took 12 plays on 75 yards and lasted over five minutes.
To round out the all-around team victory, the special teams unit contributed a touchdown on a blocked punt. Redshirt freshman defensive back Keenan Nelson Jr. got a hand on the ball, batted it down and picked it up. He then ran 18 yards to the endzone for his first career touchdown and propelled the Gamecocks to 34 points.
The team scored two more touchdowns to end the game, once again on explosive plays. Rattler found redshirt sophomore wide receiver O’Mega Blake in the fourth quarter for a 26-yard score.
Freshman quarterback LaNorris Sellers checked into the contest with the Gamecocks up 40-6. He found the endzone after breaking a tackle and scampering to the endzone from 36 yards.
“I was talking to the guys before the game. We wanted to get a win today. We were talking about getting a win, but I was like, ‘Let’s win big today,'” Rattler said. “Score a lot of points, play good complimentary football. And defense played amazing today.”
The Gamecocks will return to Williams-Brice Stadium next Saturday to take on Kentucky. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on SEC Network.