Vanderbilt Game Notes Opponent: South Carolina October 24, 2009, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C., Attendance: 75,624
With the loss, the Commodores move to 2-6 overall and 0-5 in the Southeastern Conference play. The loss snaps Vanderbilt’s two-game winning streak over South Carolina.
Team Superlatives • Vanderbilt’s defense put together another strong effort as it limited South Carolina to 14 points. The Commodores join Alabama as the only two teams in the Southeastern Conference to keep the USC offense under 15 points.
Individual Superlatives • Freshman tailback Warren Norman: Freshman running back compiled 186 all-purpose yards: He rushed 15 times for 83 yards and had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown • Strong safety Sean Richardson: recorded a team-high 12 tackles in the effort to go along with one pass break up. The 12-tackles for Richardson marks a career high. • Linebackers Patrick Benoist and Chris Marve registered seven tackles while Myron Lewis had six. • Quarterback Larry Smith finished the game 17-for-34 passing for 132 yards. Smith’s 17 pass completions were the most since he completed 23 passes in Vanderbilt’s 36-17 win over Rice on Sept. 26. • Punter Brett Upson: Had eight punts for 384 yards (48.0 average) including three punts over 54 yards and a long of 64. Upson pinned the Gamecocks inside the five-yard line twice in the second half. • Freshman Eddie Foster earned his first career start at nickel back. • Senior Steven Stone received his first action of the season at defensive end. Stone missed the first seven games after suffering a foot fracture in preseason camp. Another defensive end, junior Theron Kadri, also saw action early in the game after the previous three games with an ankle sprain. First Half • Vanderbilt missed an apparent forced fumble by linebacker Chris Marve during South Carolina’s opening drive. Officials overturned the USC fumble on replay. • Senior Jared Hawkins saw his first action in three weeks at tailback, catching two early passes for nine yards and rushing for a 2-yard first down. • Though Vanderbilt did not score in the first quarter, sophomore QB Larry Smith hit on all six of his pass attempts in the first quarter. He also had 22 rushing yards in the quarter. • This marks the fourth time this season that Vanderbilt has held an opponent scoreless in the first quarter. • Vanderbilt’s first trip inside the SC red zone ended unsuccessfully when Ryan Fowler missed a 25-yard field goal attempt. • Vanderbilt tied things up at 7-7 with 7:38 remaining in the second quarter when freshman Warren Norman returned a kickoff 99-yards for a touchdown. The kickoff return was his second of the year, marking the first time a Vanderbilt player has returned two kickoffs for a touchdown in the same season. Norman’s 99-yard kickoff return was also the second longest return in school history, behind only a 100-yard effort by Preston Brown in 1977. Norman also becomes the first Commodore to ever return two kickoffs for touchdowns. • With 5:07 left in first half, senior tackle Greg Billinger stopped a SC possession with a quarterback sack. He tops the Commodores with 3.5 sacks on the season. • Though the Commodore offense had several positive moments, it failed to register a first-half touchdown for the fourth consecutive game.
Second Half • Upson pinned South Carolina at its own 1-yard line early in the third quarter with a 57-yard punt. After forcing a Gamecock punt, the Commodores started its second possession of the second half at the SC 43-yard line. After 39 yards on five consecutive rushes by Norman, Vanderbilt took a 10-7 lead on Fowler’s 21-yard field goal. • Senior DE Broderick Stewart had a 4-yard tackle for loss and deflected pass on Carolina’s second possession, helping force a quick Gamecock punt. On the ensuing possession, Smith hit TE Brandon Barden for a career-long 43-yard pass to get Vanderbilt inside Gamecock territory. The Commodores would punt three plays later, with WR Udom Umoh knocking Upson’s effort out of bounds at the SC 1-yard line. • The Vanderbilt defense limited South Carolina to 35 total yards in the third quarter.