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Oct. 25, 2003

Stats?|? Quotes?|? Notes

Associated Press Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Dondrial Pinkins ran for three touchdowns and threw for another score as South Carolina beat Vanderbilt 35-24 on Saturday night.

Pinkins completed 13 of 21 passes for 161 yards and ran for 50 yards for the Gamecocks (5-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference).

South Carolina has beaten the Commodores (1-8, 0-5) four straight times since an 11-10 loss in 1999 marked the low point of coach Lou Holtz’s 0-11 inaugural season.

The win means South Carolina is just one victory away from becoming eligible to make its third bowl trip in the past four years. But the Gamecocks finish the season against four teams with winning records.

Vanderbilt lost its 22nd SEC game in a row despite a career-high 319 yards passing and three touchdowns from Jay Cutler, who completed 26 of 35 passes.

Mistakes doomed the Commodores, who actually outgained the Gamecocks 456-379. South Carolina twice cashed in on Vanderbilt turnovers deep in its territory.

The first was an interception by Moe Thompson that gave the Gamecocks the ball on Vanderbilt’s 7, setting up Cory Boyd’s 3-yard TD run that gave South Carolina a 14-0 lead. Thompson also recovered a late fumble to end the Commodores’ final threat.

Midway through the second quarter, Vanderbilt fumbled and Jeremiah Garrison recovered on the Commodores 20. Pinkins took advantage of the turnover to score on a 5-yard run, making it 21-3 in the second quarter.

Daccus Turman led South Carolina with 94 yards rushing on 15 carries and freshman Demetris Summers broke off some good-looking runs, but left the game in the third quarter with a bruised elbow after carrying the ball eight times for 41 yards. The Gamecocks gained a total of 213 yards on the ground just one week after they were held to zero yards rushing by LSU.

Erik Davis had six catches for 103 yards and Norval McKenzie ran 15 times for 64 yards for Vanderbilt.

But even when the Commodores overcame problems, like putting together an 18-play drive after Ronald Hatcher fell down at his own 1 trying to take the ball out on the end zone on a kickoff, they couldn’t finish things off. That drive stalled deep in South Carolina territory and the Commodores settled for Tolga Ertugrul’s 27-yard field goal.

Vanderbilt also punted once from the South Carolina 34 and missed a 39-yard field goal as the first half expired.

The Commodores finally started clicking once the game was out of hand. A 15-yard scoring pass from Jay Cutler to fullback Matthew Tant ended an 82-yard drive and a 6-yard pass from Cutler to tight end Dustin Dunning ended a 95-yard drive, the Commodores’ longest this season. It cut South Carolina’s lead to 28-17 with 9:33 left in the game.

But South Carolina ended any thoughts of a comeback with a 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive that burned more than 6? minutes off the clock and ended with a 15-yard scoring pass from Pinkins to Boyd.