Gamecocks survive scare, injury to down Vanderbilt

Marcus Lattimore scored twice and quarterback Connor Shaw returned from a bruised right shoulder that forced him out in the second quarter to lead the No. 9 Gamecocks to a comeback victory in Nashville.

Shaw’s gutty 12-yard run set up Lattimore’s 1-yard scoring plunge, putting the Gamecocks up 17-13 early in the fourth quarter. Lattimore finished with 109 yards rushing on 23 carries in his first game since he tore his ACL last October.

Vanderbilt failed in its bid to upset a top 10 team at home for the first time since 1974, mainly because of red zone failures. The Commodores, coming off only their fifth-ever bowl appearance, could not overcome 11 tackles for loss and five sacks. A blatant pass interference missed by the officials also hurt Vanderbilt late in the game.

Shaw left late in the second quarter after taking a blow to his throwing shoulder on a keeper. Backup Dylan Thompson, who had thrown two career passes previously, played until Shaw returned midway through the third quarter. By then, the Gamecocks’ 10-7 lead had turned into a 13-10 deficit.

Lattimore, a Heisman candidate and the leading All-SEC vote-getter, fumbled on his first carry but broke off a 29-yard touchdown run on his next to put the Gamecocks up 7-0.

Vanderbilt had a golden chance to open the scoring following Kenny Ladler’s first-quarter interception of Shaw. But on 3rd-and-goal from the 5, Jordan Rodgers threw back across the field and was picked off by Shaq Wilson, who returned it into Vanderbilt territory. That set up Lattimore’s long score.

It was 10-0 when Vanderbilt got going with Rodgers’ 78-yard touchdown to Jordan Matthews. The junior caught a pass over the middle and jetted away from defenders.

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