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Oct. 21, 2006

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Syvelle Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third, and South Carolina beat Vanderbilt 31-13 Saturday, keeping coach Steve Spurrier undefeated against the Commodores.

Spurrier now has won all 14 games he has coached against Vanderbilt (3-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) while at Duke, Florida and now South Carolina. This victory moved his Gamecocks (5-2, 3-2) a win short of being bowl eligible again in his second season.

The Gamecocks overcame four turnovers by outgaining Vandy 327-253 in total yards.

They now have won four of their last five games since Newton took over as starter, and they extended their school record with a fifth straight SEC victory. They also beat Vandy for the seventh time in a series in which they’ve won 14 of the 16 games played.

And it was Newton, who tore an Achilles’ tendon against Vanderbilt last season, who led the way in helping the Gamecocks score the most points given up by the Commodores this season.

Newton’s two touchdown passes came in the second quarter where the Gamecocks scored 17 straight points and built a 17-3 lead they wouldn’t lose. He ran eight times for 40 yards and was 11-of-18 for 133 yards passing.

Cory Boyd also ran for 113 yards, and Sidney Rice caught seven passes for 89 yards.

Vanderbilt came in off its biggest road victory ever, a 24-22 upset of then-No. 16 Georgia last week. The Commodores had their chances to win consecutive SEC games for the first time since September 2005.

But they had trouble getting into the end zone against a South Carolina defense that ranked 18th in scoring defense, allowing only 14.1 points per game. Vandy settled for three field goals and missed one of those.

The Commodores missed their best chance to tie the game after intercepting Newton on the opening drive of the second half. They bogged down at the South Carolina 10, and Bryant Hahnfeldt kicked a 27-yard field goal to pull within 17-13.

Newton answered with a 75-yard drive in five plays, scoring himself on a 7-yard run for a 24-13 lead. Mike Davis added a 15-yard TD run in the fourth.

The Gamecocks led 17-10 at halftime by taking advantage of a Vanderbilt turnover and poor punting. It was only that close because Newton lost a fumble, and Chris Nickson scored on a 13-yard run as time expired for Vanderbilt.

Carlos Thomas intercepted Nickson at the Vandy 29, and Newton found Rice on a 2-yard pass for a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. The Gamecocks’ longest scoring drive in the half was 46 yards, and Newton capped that with a 23-yard pass to Kenny McKinley for a 17-3 lead.

Ryan Succop kicked a career-high 55-yard field goal for a 3-3 tie. It was the second-longest field goal in Gamecocks’ history, trailing onlu Mark Fleetwood’s 58-yarder against Georgia in 1982.