Oct. 22, 2005
South Carolina Notes
The first quarter 16 yard pass from Blake Mitchell to Sidney Rice was the seventh touchdown reception of the season for Rice. He has caught at least one TD pass in each of the six games that he has played, setting a school record. The previous record was held by Jermale Kelly.
Rice scored his second touchdown of the game and eighth of the season on a 34 yard pass from Syvelle Newton in the third quarter. His third TD reception and ninth of the season was the game winner, three yards from Blake Mitchell with 1:41 remaining in the game. Nine touchdown receptions in a season tie Rice with Zola Davis (1995) for fourth. Three players have caught 10.
For the game Rice caught eight passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns. The three TD receptions by Rice tied a school record held by eight other players.
For Rice it was his second plus 100 yard game of the season. Against Kentucky he caught eight balls for 125 yards. His totals for the past two games are 17 receptions for 257 yards and five touchdowns.
The two Blake Mitchell to Sidney Rice touchdown passes was the 10th and 11th touchdown passes of the season by Mitchell.
The second quarter sack of Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler was the first sack of the season for De’Adrian Coley and second of his career. Cutler was also sacked in the second quarter by Stanley Doughty, the fourth of the season by Doughty.
Cheron Thompson of Vanderbilt returned an interception 13 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. The last previous interception return for a score against South Carolina was by Arkansas Nov. 6, 2004.
Fred Bennett blocked a Vanderbilt field goal attempt in the second quarter. It was the first block of a kick by South Carolina this season. It was the first Gamecock block of a field goal since Langston Moore blocked one against Boise State Sept. 1, 2001.
The announced attendance of 76,427 increased total attendance for five South Carolina home games this season to 392,282, an average of 78,456 per game.
Syvelle Newton gained nine yards on his first carry from the tailback position in the first quarter. Tailback was the third position that Newton has played this season.
In the third quarter Newton threw an 11 yard touchdown pass to tight end Carson Askins from the wide receiver position after a lateral from Blake Mitchell. Newton’s 34 yard TD pass to Sidney Rice gave Newton two touchdown passes for the game.
Newton scored on an 11 yard run from the tailback position I the fourth quarter. He left the game with an Achilles injury early in the fourth quarter and did not return. For the game he rushed 15 times for 80 yards and one touchdown, completed three of four passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns, and caught one pass for eight yards.
Jonathan Joseph intercepted a pass from Jay Cutler and returned it 32 yards to the Vanderbilt 30 yard line in the fourth quarter. It was the second interception of the season by Joseph. He returned the first 42 yards for a touchdown against Georgia.
Commodore Outcome Vanderbilt goes to 4-4 overall on the season, and 2-3 in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division with the loss. After opening with four consecutive victories, the Commodores are currently on a four-game losing streak.
It marked the first road loss this season for the Commodores. They opened the season with road wins at Wake Forest and Arkansas.
Bennett Continues Outstanding First Season
Freshman WR Earl Bennett added to stellar season, providing the top offensive performance with the Commodores with 16 receptions, good for 204 yards and a touchdown. It was the first TD reception of Bennett’s career.
Bennett became the leading freshman receiver ever in terms of catches. He has 46 receptions, surpassing Boo Mitchell’s total of 45 receptions in 1985. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards by a freshman with 535 after passing Clarence Sevllian (359 in 1989), Jesse Mathers (423 in 1973) and Todd Yoder (471 in 1996). Bennett trails only Mitchell’s 1985 mark of 739 receiving yards.
It was the most receptions by a Commodore since Dan Stricker caught 12 passes against Kentucky in 2001. Bennett’s 204 yards tied Stricker’s 2001 mark.
Cutler Becomes All-time Completions Leader
Jay Cutler added another all-time Commodore passing record to his collection, becoming the team career leader in pass completions. Cutler ended the game with 27 completions, giving him 616 completions for his career. He topped former record holder Greg Zolman, who completed 596 passes from 1998 to 2001. Cutler earned the record with a 9-yard pass to WR Earl Bennett in the second quarter.
Cutler also moved up the all-time SEC passing charts. He overtook former Auburn QB Jason Campbell and former Arkansas QB Clint Stoerner in passing yardage. After throwing for 339 yards versus USC, Cutler has 7,626 yards for his career, good for 15th all-time in the league. Cutler also ranks 19th all-time in touchdown passes, 15th in completions and 10th in pass attempts.
The senior surpassed a number of his own career bests. Cutler passed for 339 yards on the day, eclipsing his old record of 319 yards set in Columbia in 2003. VU’s signal-caller also set a career mark for pass attempts (48) and was one short of his personal best in completions with 27.
First Half Highlights
Senior DE Herdley Harrison provided a key defensive play for the Commodores in the initial Gamecock series, deflecting a Blake Mitchell attempt to force South Carolina into a 2nd-and-long situation which it failed to convert… The Commodores’ first offensive possession started with five consecutive rushing attempts prior to an incomplete third-down pass attempt. South Carolina’s rush defense entered the game ranked 10th in the SEC… Junior Kevin Joyce produced his first quarterback sack of the season to put USC in another deep hole on its second series… Redshirt freshman DT Brandon Holmes earned his first collegiate playing time late in the first quarter… Trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter, the Commodores let a scoring opportunity slip away when Cutler was sacked on third down.
On South Carolina’s first offensive play following the sack, Commodore senior CB Cheron Thompson made the biggest play of his Vanderbilt career, picking off a Mitchell pass and returning it 13 yards for a touchdown, tying the score 7-7 with 12:45 remaining in the half. It was the Commodores’ first defensive touchdown since Nov. 6, 2004 when Moses Osemwegie recovered a fumble in the end zone versus Florida. It was also Vanderbilt’s first interception return for a touchdown since Dominique Morris went 29 yards with a pick against Rutgers last year.
Second Half Highlights
Cutler guided Vanderbilt on its first offensive touchdown drive to open the second half, leading an 8-play, 72-yard drive capped by tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison’s 2-yard plunge. Cutler hit three receptions for 48 yards on the drive, including a 25-yard connection with WR Erik Davis that put the ball on the USC 2-yard line… With 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, Cassen Jackson-Garrison scored his second touchdown of the game – his fifth career touchdown and the first multi-score effort of his Vanderbilt career.
Eight of Vanderbilt’s 11 defensive starters Â¬ – DE Herdley Harrison, DE Chris Booker, DT Ralph McKenzie, LB Moses Osemwegie, LB Kevin Joyce, LB Jonathan Goff, CB Andrew Pace and safety Reshard Langford – have started at least eight seven of the Commodores’ eight games. Eight of the Commodore offensive starters – QB Jay Cutler, TB Jeff Jennings, TE Dustin Dunning, WR Marlon White, OT Ryan King, OT Brian Stamper, OG Josh Eames and center Trey Holloway – have started every game.