Quarterback Zeb Noland came off the bench late and hit Xavier Legette on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds remaining to lift South Carolina to a 21-20 Southeastern Conference victory against Vanderbilt on Saturday at Columbia, S.C.
Noland replaced Luke Doty with 1:36 remaining and was 5-of-8 passing for 75 yards on the decisive final drive to help the Gamecocks (4-3, 1-3 SEC) snap a nine-game SEC losing streak.
The Commodores (2-5, 0-3) lost their 16th consecutive SEC game.
Vanderbilt QB Mike Wright, making his first career start in place of injured Ken Seals (hand), hit Will Sheppard 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the third quarter. South Carolina’s Darius Rush failed to tackle Sheppard, who ran down the sideline for a 17-14 led with 5:17 remaining in the quarter.
Vanderbilt’s Joseph Bulovas added a 28-yard field goal for a 20-14 lead with 1:36 remaining in advance of Noland’s heroics.
Wright was 11-of-21 passing for 206 yards, one TD and one interception. He also ran 15 times for 41 yards.
Doty was 17-of-26 passing for 242 yards and two TDs for the Gamecocks, who had four turnovers.
South Carolina’s Parker White missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt in the final minute of the third quarter. It was his first miss in 10 attempts this season.
Doty’s two first-quarter TD passes helped South Carolina take a 14-10 halftime lead against its SEC East Division rival.
The Gamecocks’ quarterback found tight end Nick Muse on a 2-yard scoring pass with 9:49 left in the first quarter, and then hit Jaheim Bell on an 82-yard pass play less than 10 minutes into the game.
Vanderbilt’s Rocko Griffin ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 2:53 to go in the second quarter. The scoring drive was set up by Dashaun Jerkins’ recovery at the South Carolina 14 after MarShawn Lloyd fumbled.
The victory was South Carolina’s 13th consecutive in the series and gave them victory No. 100 in the SEC (100-137-1) since joining the conference in 1992.
–Field level Media