South Carolina waited six decades for a victory like this. Gamecocks coach Brad Scott delivered it in less than a year.
South Carolina, 0-8 in previous postseason appearances, finally won its first bowl game Monday, beating West Virginia 24-21 in the Carquest Bowl.
Steve Taneyhill threw for a touchdown and ran for another for the Gamecocks (7-5).
“That was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had out there because of the fact that our name’s going to go down in Carolina history,” said Taneyhill, the game’s MVP.
His 4-yard scoring leap put South Carolina up 17-7 at the half, and he finished 26 of 36 for 227 yards.
West Virginia (7-6), trailing 24-21, twice gave up the the ball on downs in the final 6 minutes as it lost its fifth straight bowl game. The Mountaineers gave up two fumbles and an interception that led to 14 points for South Carolina, including a 1-yard TD burst from Stanley Pritchett that was the winning score.
“I think this game was important to us, but I think this game meant the world to South Carolina,” West Virginia cornerback Mike Logan said.
Pritchett scored from a yard out with 2:40 left in the third quarter that put South Carolina ahead 24-14. But West Virginia closed within three points on Chad Johnston’s second touchdown pass to Lovett Purnell.
South Carolina went on a 12-play drive that got to West Virginia’s 4, but Taneyhill was sacked by tackle Barry Hawkins and a field-goal try was blocked.
Pritchett went on a 28-yard run with 1:14 left and was headed for a score, but fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone and West Virginia took over on its 3.
Johnston, though, was sacked for the sixth time and South Carolina’s lead was safe.
“There were a lot of times that we could have folded the tent,” said Scott, who took control of the program in December of 1993. “Even today, things got a little tough in the second half. Our team got together, especially our defense.”
S. Carolina 24, W. Virginia 21 South Carolina 7 10 7 0 - 24 West Virginia 0 7 14 0 - 21
SC-Foster 2 pass from Taneyhill (Morton kick)
SC-FG Morton 47
WV-Walker 24 run (Baumann kick)
SC-Taneyhill 4 run (Morton kick)
WV-Purnell 6 pass from Johnston (Baumann kick)
SC-Pritchett 1 run (Morton kick)
WV-Purnell 7 pass from Johnston (Baumann kick)
SC WV First downs 21 16 Rushes-yards 41-148 32-150 Passing 227 240 Return Yards 46 51 Comp-Att-Int 26-36-0 19-32-1 Punts 4-35 2-54 Fumbles-Lost 6-2 3-2 Penalties-Yards 6-38 7-55 Time of Possession 35:26 24:34
RUSHINGSouth Carolina, Bennett 14-100, Pritchett 13-53, Bridges 2-13, Reddick 1-4, Troop 1-1, Taneyhill 9-(minus 11), Robinson 1-(minus 12). West Virginia, Walker 16-132, Barber 6-14, Gary 3-5, Johnston 7-(minus 1).
PASSINGSouth Carolina, Taneyhill 26-36-0-227. West Virginia, Johnston 19-32-1-240.
RECEIVINGSouth Carolina, Nicklow 7-51, Pritchett 5-56, Bennett 4-16, Harris 2-20, Owens 2-19, Reddick 2-10, Robinson 1-44, Means 1-8, Foster 1-2, Cates 1-1. West Virginia, Abraham 7-107, Purnell 5-66, Vanterpool 4-62, Barber 2-5, Gary 1-0.
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