They say defense wins championships.
The Gamecocks are hoping their defense can do just that this year and they finally showed they are capable of bringing home a championship against Vanderbilt.
South Carolina held the Vanderbilt Commodores to just 77 total yards of offense on Saturday night as they pulled off a 21-3 victory to remain undefeated and in the top ten in the rankings. Vanderbilt had just four rushing yards to go along with 73 passing yards against a stout Carolina defense that brought pressure constantly. Vanderbilt had no chance offensively in this game and if it weren't for some early mistakes by the Gamecocks then the score could have been much worse.
Carolina's defense was led by the usual suspects in Melvin Ingram, Antonio Allen, and Jadeveon Clowney. Ingram and Clowney both had four tackles a piece and added two sacks each against Vanderbilt. Allen picked up a fumble and returned it 31 yards where it was stripped by the Vanderbilt player but Ingram was there to jump on the ball in the end zone for another touchdown by this Gamecock defense. This is the third game out of four that the USC defense has scored a touchdown. The Gamecocks finished the game with six sacks after only having two sacks in the previous three games. Clowney is the sack leader for USC right now with four sacks.
USC's offense was saved by Marcus Lattimore yet again this week as he had over 150 total yards of offense including a 52-yard touchdown reception in the final minute of the first half for the Gamecocks. Lattimore carried the ball 20 times for 77 yards and had three receptions for 73 yards including the one touchdown. Ace Sanders was the leading receiver on the team with four catches for 75 yards. Stephen Garcia continues his struggles with four interceptions on the night but he did throw the touchdown to Lattimore and threw for a season high 228 yards through the air. His play is important to this offense and he will need to play much better if the Gamecocks expect to continue to push toward another division and a potential SEC title.
There is still plenty of work left for the Gamecocks right now but they remain undefeated at 4-0 on the season with an important matchup with Auburn coming up on Saturday October 1st at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS so the nation will have a chance to see South Carolina up close and personal. This could be a great chance for USC to prove the doubters wrong and come out firing on all sides of the football.