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South Carolina near bowl eligibility after Vandy win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Syvelle Newton threw for two touchdowns
and ran for a third, and South Carolina beat Vanderbilt 31-13
Saturday, keeping coach Steve Spurrier undefeated against the
Commodores.

Spurrier now has won all 14 games he has coached against
Vanderbilt (3-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) while at Duke,
Florida and now South Carolina. This victory moved his Gamecocks
(5-2, 3-2) a win short of being bowl eligible again in his second
season.

The Gamecocks overcame four turnovers by outgaining Vandy
327-253 in total yards.

They now have won four of their last five games since Newton
took over as starter, and they extended their school record with a
fifth straight SEC road victory. They also beat Vandy for the
seventh time in a series in which they've won 14 of the 16 games
played.

And it was Newton, who tore an Achilles' tendon against
Vanderbilt last season, who led the way in helping the Gamecocks
score the most points given up by the Commodores this season.

Newton's two touchdown passes came in the second quarter where
the Gamecocks scored 17 straight points and built a 17-3 lead they
wouldn't lose. He ran eight times for 40 yards and was 11-of-18 for
133 yards passing.

Cory Boyd also ran for 113 yards, and Sidney Rice caught seven
passes for 89 yards.

Vanderbilt came in off its biggest road victory ever, a 24-22
upset of then-No. 16 Georgia last week. The Commodores had their
chances to win consecutive SEC games for the first time since
September 2005.

But they had trouble getting into the end zone against a South
Carolina defense that ranked 18th in scoring defense, allowing only
14.1 points per game. Vandy settled for three field goals and
missed one of those.

The Commodores missed their best chance to tie the game after
intercepting Newton on the opening drive of the second half. They
bogged down at the South Carolina 10, and Bryant Hahnfeldt kicked a
27-yard field goal to pull within 17-13.

Newton answered with a 75-yard drive in five plays, scoring
himself on a 7-yard run for a 24-13 lead. Mike Davis added a
15-yard TD run in the fourth.

The Gamecocks led 17-10 at halftime by taking advantage of a
Vanderbilt turnover and poor punting. It was only that close
because Newton lost a fumble, and Chris Nickson scored on a 13-yard
run as time expired for Vanderbilt.

Carlos Thomas intercepted Nickson at the Vandy 29, and Newton
found Rice on a 2-yard pass for a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.
The Gamecocks' longest scoring drive in the half was 46 yards, and
Newton capped that with a 23-yard pass to Kenny McKinley for a 17-3
lead.

Ryan Succop kicked a career-high 55-yard field goal for a 3-3
tie. It was the second-longest field goal in Gamecocks' history,
trailing only Mark Fleetwood's 58-yarder against Georgia in 1982.