COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Joshua Dobbs threw a 9-yard pass to Jason Croom with 11 seconds left to tie the game at 42 before Aaron Medley’s 32-yard field goal in overtime lifted Tennessee to its first Southeastern Conference win 45-42 over South Carolina on Saturday night.
The Vols (4-5, 1-4 SEC) trailed 42-28 with 4:52 remaining after Brandon Wilds’ 70-yard scoring run. But the Gamecocks struggling defense, which gave up double-digit, fourth-quarter leads in losses to Missouri and Kentucky, did it again.
Dobbs’ 3-yard TD run drew the Vols within a score with 1:50 left before his tying touchdown pass a series later.
South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson was sacked twice in overtime and the Gamecocks (4-5, 2-5) badly missed a desperation, 58-yard field goal.
Dobbs threw for two touchdowns and ran for three others.
Dobbs, making his first start this season, ran for 166 yards and touchdowns of 7, 36 and 3 yards. He was 23 of 40 for 301 yards, an interception and TD passes of 21 yards to Jalen Hurd and the tying score to Croom.
Dobbs set the school mark for single-game rushing by a quarterback, breaking the record of 106 yards by the late Jimmy Streater in 1979.
Hurd ran for 125 yards, giving Tennessee two rushers over the century mark for the first time in five years.
The Vols finished with 645 yards of offense to break their 0-for-SEC futility this fall.
Tennessee rushed to their fan section in a chilly, Williams-Brice Stadium to celebrate as the Gamecocks filed off.
Steve Spurrier spent last than a minute in front of reporters and did not take questions before walking out. ”This is a tough one, hard to get over,” he said.
The victory spoiled the record-setting show put on by South Carolina sophomore receiver Pharoh Cooper, who caught two touchdowns and ran and passed for two others. He had 11 catches for 233 yards receiving, breaking the Gamecocks mark of 210 held by NFL first-rounder Troy Williamson in 2004.
It’s the second time in 2014 the Gamecocks had a player throw, run and catch a touchdown – former quarterback Connor Shaw accomplished the feat in the 34-24 win over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl last New Year’s Day.
It’s also the second straight week the Vols gave up a school receiving mark to a Cooper – Alabama’s Amari had 224 yards receiving last week to set the Crimson Tide single-game record.
Tennessee and South Carolina both came into this one hoping to end disappointing streaks and creep closer to bowl eligibility.
South Carolina got things going in a hurry on Cooper’s first score and its troubled defense stacking up Jalen Hurd on fourth-and-goal from the 1 yard line.
But Thompson gave it right back to Tennessee moments later with a wild throw from his end zone that cornerback Justin Coleman caught over his shoulder. This time, the Vols cashed in on Pig Howard’s run around the right side to tie the game at 7-all.
It was Dobbs in control when Tennessee got the ball back. He rushed for 15 yards on third-and-1, and then found Howard for a 22-yard gain on third-and-10. Dobbs finished the drive with a 7-yard TD run.
South Carolina called on its best offensive player in Cooper to tie things once more, the series ending on his TD throw.
The Gamecocks’ suspect defense – the Gamecocks are next-to-last in SEC yards allowed – showed its deficiencies again right before the half when Dobbs, attempting to get the Vols in field goal range on fourth-and-3 from the Gamecocks 36, rushed through the middle of the line and found himself in the open for a touchdown with 7 seconds left before the break for a 21-14 lead.
The Vols, 13th in the SEC with 104.9 yards a game, had 157 yards on the ground by halftime.
South Carolina heads to a week off with more questions than answers while Tennessee won its second straight over the Gamecocks.