PC Football Drops Battle at Vanderbilt
Both teams see their records move to 1-2 on the season. The loss marks the first shutout for the Blue Hose since a 28-0 defeat at Elon on September 16, 2006.
"I have to give Vanderbilt credit because they are an awful good football team, and we knew it coming in. We were outplayed to a certain degree. Some of it is Vanderbilt and I think a lot of it is that we didn't play particularly well." said head coach Harold Nichols. "That's an SEC football team and they are really, really good. Hopefully we can take some things and learn from it and get ready for next week."
The Blue Hose return to Laurens County for their next game, a matchup against Furman at Bailey Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon and the game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Southeast.
Vanderbilt used a 28-point third quarter and gained 605 yards of offense en route to the win. Running back Zac Stacy ran for 174 yards on eight carries and Brian Kimbrow added 140 yards on 14 rushes.
Tamyn Garrick (Williston, S.C.) led PC's passing attack by going 7-for-10 with 88 yards and an interception, all in the first half. The redshirt freshman held a passing edge on Vanderbilt counterpart Austyn Carta-Samuels at the half, 88 yards to 63. Carta-Samuels finished with 195 yards and a touchdown. PC quarterback Chad Sanders (St. Simons Island, Ga.) started the game in the option and gained 14 yards rushing on two attempts.
Several Blue Hose set career marks during the afternoon.
Wide receiver Michael Ruff (Whitmire, S.C.) reached a milestone on the team's first drive, hauling in a 19-yard reception to push him over 1,000 career receiving yards. The Blue Hose wideout ranks third in PC's Division I history with 1,014.
Joey Gilkey (Woodstock, Ga.) caught a 29-yard reception in the second quarter, a career-long for the tight end. Freshman Jordan Hallums (Mauldin, S.C.) also made his first career catch with a 21-yard reception in the first half, PC's second-longest pass of the day.
PC rushed for 91 yards as a team, led by Lance Byrd's (Jacksonville, Fla.) 41 yards.
Defensively, Donelle Williams (Starke, Fla.) make nine total tackles while a trio of Blue Hose had seven total each. LJ Perry (Augusta, Ga.) made four solo tackles-including one for a loss-while Cedric Byrd (Tyrone, Ga.) had four solo stops as well with a pass breakup.
A solid 39-yard opening PC drive that saw the Blue Hose notch two first downs pinned Vanderbilt deep early in the first quarter, but the Commodores scored on their first offensive play with an 86-yard Zac Stacy touchdown run. The play marked the longest run in Vanderbilt history and gave the home side a 7-0 lead 5:16 into the contest.
The PC defense stiffened up on Vanderbilt's next series late in the first quarter, making a big stop on a red zone drive and forcing a 23-yard Carey Spear field goal. Keyadd Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.) made tackles on second and third down to halt the Vanderbilt offense as the Commodores took a 10-0 lead into the second quarter.
Vanderbilt struck again on the third play of the second quarter to finish off a 30-yard drive. Wesley Tate converted a short fourth-down run from six yards out to give the Commodores a 17-0 lead 13:47 before halftime.
The Blue Hose stopped Vanderbilt from scoring another touchdown, holding the Commodores to a 28-yard field goal midway through the second to extend their lead to 20-0.
Late in the second quarter, PC put together a promising drive by starting on its own 35 and taking the ball 60 yards down to the Vanderbilt 5. Looking to pass on third down, Garrick rolled right attempted to find Jeremiah McKie (Simpsonville, S.C.) in the end zone, but Trey Wilson picked off the pass and ran back 100 yards as Vanderbilt took a 27-0 into the locker room at halftime
"It was a big play and a big momentum turner," said Nichols. "Let's say we can punch it in right there, it was third down, best case scenario we punch it in and worst case scenario we kick a field goal and go into halftime down 20-3. It's a whole different mindset."
In the third quarter, Vanderbilt put together three consecutive drives of over 60 yards that ended in short rushing touchdowns to add to its advantage.
A one-play, 49-yard rush from Brian Kimbrow gave Vanderbilt seven more points heading into the fourth quarter before a 42-yard field goal made the score 58-0 early in the final period, the game's final tally.