Gamecocks ride Edwards’ hands, Frye’s toe to victory

uscfoot-fgvandySouth Carolina still might not be settled on a starting quarterback, but they have found a star wide receiver.

Former Conway High standout and Gamecocks freshman wide receiver made a stellar college debut Thursday night in helping South Carolina rally to a 13-10 victory over Vanderbilt. Edwards caught eight passes for a game-high 101 yards, including a critical reception to set up Elliott Frye’s game-winning field goal in the final minute.

First-year head coach Will Muschamp’s got his first win at South Carolina (1-0, 1-0 SEC), as the Gamecocks scored the final 13 points to down Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC) on Thursday night at Vanderbilt Stadium.

After a 16-yard pass to Edwards from senior Perry Orth and a 17-yard run by freshman A.J. Turner set him up, Fry stepped up and hit a career-long 55-yard field goal to give South Carolina the lead with 35 seconds remaining in the opener. The Gamecocks defense, which forced four of five turnovers in the second half, stopped Vandy’s last drive to preserve the win.

After Orth was benched for freshman phenom Brandon McIlwain, South Carolina broke onto the scoreboard midway through the third quarter when Fry hit a 48-yard field goal to cut Vandy’s lead to 10-3. Orth connected with sophomore Deebo Samuel for the big play of the drive, as the duo’s pass went for 30 yards to get the Gamecocks into Vanderbilt territory.

The Gamecocks tied the contest with 7:30 to go when Samuel swept around the left end and touched the pylon for the eight-yard scoring run. Orth completed five passes to start the drive and ran for a nine-yard gain, while Turner rushed twice for 25 yards, including the 20-yard scamper to set up Samuel’s score.

Vanderbilt opened the scoring with a 36-yard field goal from Tommy Openshaw after the Commodores took advantage of a muffed punt by the Gamecocks, setting up the 13-yard scoring drive. That lead grew to 10-0 32 seconds into the second quarter when Khari Blasingam punctuated the 13-play, 67-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

The Gamecocks looked like they would draw within one score as they drove inside Vanderbilt’s 20-yard line later in the second quarter. But the Commodores’ Oren Burks forced a fumble after a five-yard SC run, and Charles Wright covered it up to give Vandy back the ball.

With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Vanderbilt drove into Gamecock territory and set up a 45-yard field goal from the middle of the field, but the chance hooked left, giving South Carolina the chance to drive the field and claim the win.

Photo courtesy of VU Athletics

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