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99-yard TD pass keys Gamecocks rout

9/6/2003

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- So much for conservative ol' Lou.
With South Carolina trailing 7-3 and pinned on its 1-yard line,
Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz did the unthinkable -- at least for him --
changing a safe and steady run into a dangerous pass route.

The change worked perfectly. Dondrial Pinkins connected with
Troy Williamson on a record-setting 99-yard touchdown play that
helped South Carolina defeat No. 15 Virginia 31-7 on Saturday.
"You could see right after we scored the whole team lifted a
little," Pinkins said. "It gave us a lot of momentum."
Pinkins added a 5-yard touchdown run and Daccus Turman had 123
yards rushing and a touchdown for South Carolina (2-0), which
defeated a ranked opponent for the first time since beating
then-No. 22 Ohio State 31-28 in the 2002 Outback Bowl.
Offensive lineman Travelle Wharton said Holtz's call on the
touchdown was not as surprising as it might appear.
"We needed a big play, and we felt like we could make a big
play," he said.
The Cavaliers, up 7-3 in the second quarter, had not permitted a
South Carolina first down in its previous five defensive series and
had just downed a punt at the Gamecocks 1 to set Pinkins up for
more problems.
But on the first snap, Pinkins dropped back into his end zone
and hit Williamson on the run as he cut left toward the center of
the field. Williamson caught it near the 15, broke a tackle from
safety Willie Davis and then edged past cornerback Jamaine Winborne
and was gone for the touchdown.
Williamson knelt with his head bowed in the left corner of the
end zone as teammates and fans at Williams-Brice Stadium celebrated
wildly.
Holtz said he figured that the Cavaliers might hesitate on the
run and the Gamecocks could catch the Cavaliers in man coverage on
the speedy Williamson.
"And they were," Holtz said. "Troy broke the one tackle and
that was it. A real big play."
The play broke South Carolina's old mark of 97 yards, thrown by
Todd Ellis to Robert Brooks in a win over East Carolina in 1988. It
also tied the Southeastern Conference mark set by Florida's Cris
Collinsworth on a pass to Derrick Gaffney against Rice in 1977.
It may have crushed Virginia's spirit.
"I was very embarrassed by the touchdown," Virginia coach Al
Groh said.
There was a lot for Virginia to be embarrassed about.
With senior quarterback Matt Schaub on the sideline with a
separated right shoulder, the Cavaliers (1-1) were out of sync on
offense. Schaub's replacement, freshman Anthony Martinez, was
rattled all game by South Carolina's defense. He threw two
interceptions and muffed a handoff with Alvin Pearman that set up
Turman's score.
Virginia managed only 17 yards passing in the first half and
just 9 yards rushing in the second half. Overall, the Cavaliers
were outgained 423-170.
"There's no explanation or excuses why we played like that,"
said Martinez, who was 10-of-20 for 54 yards. "We didn't play like
we should've. We have got to be ready to work harder."
Virginia never recovered after Williamson's touchdown.
Martinez and the Cavaliers got the ball back twice more in the
quarter but went three-and-out both times. Things didn't get much
better in the second half. Jeremiah Garrison's interception ended
one Virginia drive in the third quarter. Pearman bobbled a handoff
from Martinez and Moe Thompson recovered for South Carolina to stop
another on the Virginia 11.
Turman, the first Gamecock to rush for 100 yards since
quarterback Corey Jenkins had 101 in a loss to Georgia 12 games
ago, put things out of reach two plays later with his 6-yard
scoring run.

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