South Carolina rallies past Vanderbilt in opener

Sept. 1, 2016


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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Will Muschamp had no worries about sending Elliott Fry out for the longest field goal of his career. Even though this was the coach's first game with South Carolina, he had seen the kicker connect repeatedly in clutch situations.

Fry kicked a career-long 55-yard field goal with 35 seconds left, and the South Carolina Gamecocks rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Vanderbilt 13-10 Thursday night in Muschamp's debut as head coach.

"I had total confidence," Muschamp said.

So did senior quarterback Perry Orth.

"I've been here the same amount of time as Elliott," Orth said. "I've seen him make those in practice. He's made a few clutch kicks in games. I knew if we got the ball close to the 35 and in, we'd have a chance."

Muschamp started Orth at quarterback and also played freshman Brandon McIlwain. But it was Orth who went back into the game in the third quarter and threw for 152 yards rallying the Gamecocks to their eighth straight victory over Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.



Vanderbilt now is 0-3 in season openers under coach Derek Mason, though his Commodores did manage to score an offensive touchdown in the first half. But Tommy Openshaw missed a 45-yard field goal wide left with 3:44 left, and Vandy turned it over on downs with 14 seconds left.

"Every decision we made will be questioned," Mason said. "The bottom line is we didn't win this game. Now we have to get back to next week and play MTSU."

Fry also kicked a 48-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Deebo Samuel atoned for a fumbled punt in the first quarter by scoring an 8-yard TD on an end-around with 7:30 left. Fry had total confidence he could connect from 55 after barely coming up short from 62 in warmups.

"I knew I could hit it," said Fry, whose previous long was 52 yards.


 

 

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