USC-Auburn game still on despite Vandy COVID issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The South Carolina Gamecocks ran the ball so well on a rainy, sloppy day that quarterback Collin Hill would not have minded if he never threw the ball.

Hill ran for two touchdowns and Kevin Harris ran for two TDs and a career-high 171 yards as the South Carolina Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt 41-7 Saturday for their first victory of the season.

And right now USC is going to try to turn it into a winning streak on Saturday when it plays host to No. 14 Auburn at noon in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

Vanderbilt’s football game at Missouri on Saturday has been postponed because COVID-19 issues have left the Commodores without enough players.

Vanderbilt (0-3) played with only 56 scholarship players against Carolina. The school said Monday it would not be able to reach the Southeastern Conference’s 53-player minimum this week “due to the quarantining of individuals with positive tests and those designated as close contacts, along with injuries and opt-outs.”

In a statement released on Monday, South Carolina said none of its players were affected.

“Our athletics training staff has been notified by Vanderbilt, per SEC protocols, that no players on the Gamecock football team were identified as being a close contact that would result in quarantine,” the statement read. “A close contact is identified as someone who is within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 cumulative minutes. We will continue to test our players as normal SEC protocols — three times each week.”

Gamecock players were tested on Sunday, and will be tested again on Tuesday and Thursday, according to David Cloninger of The Post and Courier in Charleston.

The Gamecocks (1-2, 1-2 SEC) won their 12th straight in this series by dominating Vanderbilt 486-249 in total offense and three sacks on a rainy day. South Carolina had more yards rushing (290) than the Commodores had total yards.

Harris, the sophomore running back limited last season by an injured groin, had himself a day. He ran for a 25-yard TD early in the third, and he added a career-long 88-yarder early in the fourth. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said Harris gets better as the game goes on.

“You get tired of hitting him, and there’s nothing really soft on his body,” Muschamp said. “He’s got a short stature but he’s a very muscular guy. He runs with high knees, he gets behind his pads and when you take him on there’s nothing there that’s soft to hit. He’s a guy that wears on people as the game continues to go.”

Parker White kicked a pair of field goals, including a 43-yarder that gave the Gamecocks the lead for good in the first quarter.

Hill hit Nick Muse with a 32-yard pass, starting a 12-play, 96-yard drive that the South Carolina quarterback capped himself by going over the top for a 1-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 2:09 left in the first half.

South Carolina scored the final 24 points. Hill ran for a 10-yard TD in the third, and Harris broke loose for his 88-yarder and Dakereon Joyner had a 47-yard TD, both in the fourth.

Muschamp credited the Gamecocks with being able to adjust well in the second quarter and into the second half. They had 60 yards rushing by halftime with 230 coming in the second half.

“That’s a heck of a day running the football no matter who you’re playing against,” Muschamp said.


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