Carquest Bowl



South Carolina 24
West Virginia 21

South Carolina Fight Song


MIAMI (AP)- 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 2421 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 the up the ball on downs in the final six 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 which 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. They made some awfully big plays at some important times."


"We've been waiting so long for South Carolina to rise to the top, we think we've showed the country that we can play, that they have to pay attention to this team," said South Carolina tailback Brandon Bennett, who finished with 100 yards to move to second behind George Rogers on the team's career rushing list


South Carolina, in its first bowl game in six years, started quickly when Aubrey Brooks recovered Jimmy Gray's fumble at West Virginia's 35 on the Mountaineers' opening play. Six plays later, Taneyhill found Foster alone at the back of the end zone.


Taneyhill ended a 14-play drive just before halftime with his second touchdown run of the season. The junior ducked between two defenders, faked a throw at the line of scrimmage and dived over the top for a 4 yard score.


Reed Morton set a Carquest Bowl record with a 47-yard field goal, giving the Gamecocks a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.


West Virginia stopped itself several times in the first half. Brooks stopped Kantroy Barber for no gain on fourth and 2 at the Gamecocks' 23. After the Mountaineers recovered Monty Means' fumble on South Carolina's next drive, West Virginia receiver Rahsaan Vanterpool lost the ball at the end of 25-yard completion on the next play.


Another West Virginia sequence- this time an eight-play series- ended at South Carolina's 29 when Brooks knocked away a fourth-down pass to Robert Walker in the end zone.


"I thought South Carolina played well, but we just kind of self-destructed early," West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said.


Robert Walker gained 132 yards, including 62 during West Virginia's only scoring drive of the first half.


Stanley Pritchett carries through the West Virginia defense.


Kantroy Barber carries for the Mountaineers.


WVUs Rahshan Vanterpool is brought down by Ron Nealy and Ronnie Smith.


Pritchett celebrates the winning touchdown.


The 1995 Carquest Bowl was South Carolina's first bowl victory.