Saturday, October 24, 2009

Seems like old times: Vandy tied with Gamecocks at halftime

Looks like a different Vanderbilt team tonight, and Gamecock players and fans seem to be having deja vu. We're hanging tough, despite a few negative circumstances:

1. Chris Marve strips the ball from a Gamecock ballcarrier on the game's opening drive, and deep in SC territory. Alas, the refs review the play and despite the opinions of the ESPNU broadcast crew, give the ball back to the Cocks.

2. When Vandy gets the ball, Larry Smith orchestrates a beautiful drive that ends when Brandon Barden drops a pass in the end zone, setting up a Ryan Fowler chip shot.

3. Um, Fowler misses and reacts like the kids on my son's coach-pitch team.

4. SC's Steven Garcia throws a 35-yard pass bobbled as the Gamecock receiver steps on the sideline in the end zone. It's reviewed and everybody seems to concede that it's not a TD. Replays clearly show the receiver stepped on the stripe. But the play stands and it's a TD.

But that set up the play of the night so far for the Dores: Warren Norman takes a kickoff 99 yards to the house to tie the game.

Which is where we stand at halftime — 7-7.

Other positives:

• We've got eight first downs.
• Larry is 10-16 passing.
• Ted Kiser or Jimmy Cain or whoever's calling the plays has actually been doing a good job, with Larry rolling out and hitting his running backs.
• Jared Hawkins is playing and has had some big carries on third down and a couple of receptions.
• Steven Stone is back and the defensive line — and the entire defense — is putting pressure on Garcia and looks good.
• We've converted 50 percent (4-8) on third downs, compared to 2-7 for SC.
• We're winning in penalties, with 2-15 compared to 6-57 for the Gamecocks.

Let's win this one, dang it.

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