Aug 30, 2003
By JEFFREY COLLINS
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Dondrial Pinkins passed for 185 yards and a touchdown as South Carolina overcame a lackluster offensive performance to beat Louisiana-Lafayette 14-7 on Saturday night.
The Gamecocks’ defense was just stingy enough, allowing 272 yards and forcing a fumble that set up South Carolina’s first score. The Ragin’ Cajuns’ offense didn’t score as their lone touchdown came when Patrick Lamy returned a blocked field goal attempt 89 yards on the last play of the first half.
The win gave South Carolina coach Lou Holtz 239 career victories, passing Woody Hayes for seventh on the all-time list.
Louisiana-Lafayette moved the ball to near midfield or into Gamecocks’ territory just six times, but the South Carolina defense forced two turnovers and three punts to go with a missed 52-yard field goal.
After struggling for most of the game, South Carolina used tight end Hart Turner and their young backfield to take the lead for good late in the third quarter.
Turner, a senior who came into the game with five career catches, got two of his three receptions on a six-play drive that ended with a 7-yard scoring run by sophomore Kenny Irons and gave South Carolina a 14-7 lead.
On the next drive, sophomore Daccus Turman had a 12-yard run and a 13-yard catch and freshman Syvelle Newton ran 32 yards on a reverse. But the drive ended with Josh Brown missing a 38-yard field goal.
Brown, the starting punter, was kicking in place of Daniel Weaver, who missed the game because of eligibility issues.
Turman ended the game as the Gamecocks’ leading rusher with 40 yards on nine carries.
On its first drive of the second half, South Carolina also got into Louisiana-Lafayette territory, helped by two runs for 13 yards by freshman Demetris Summers and another catch by Turner. But Pinkins fumbled at the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 28.
Pinkins had a tough day. He completed just 16 of 34 passes, overthrowing several open receivers and was a beat late on others throws, allowing defenders to break up potential long gains. His receivers didn’t help though, dropping a few well-thrown balls.
By the middle of the third quarter with the game still tied at 7, boos could be heard from the 82,227 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s only score came when Michael Adams blocked Josh Brown’s 29-yard field goal attempt and Lamy scooped it up. The Ragin’ Cajuns coaches could be heard screaming in the booth as Lamy ran 89 yards along the Gamecock sideline as the half expired.
Travis Smothers ran for 113 yards on 19 carries and freshman quarterback Jerry Babb went 12-for-24 for 134 yards and an interception for Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Ragin’ Cajuns turned the ball over three times, including a Chester Johnson fumble recovered at South Carolina’s 2 in the first quarter.
Johnson also fumbled on the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 28, leading to a four-play drive capped by Pinkins 8-yard touchdown pass to Troy Williamson to give the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead.