Vanderbilt (1-1) at No.13 South Carolina (1-1)
Saturday, 7 PM EST, ESPN
Line: South Carolina by 13.5
This game features two SEC East foes that both have losses coming into the third week of the season. South Carolina has been a feature game both weeks so far as they handled North Carolina in their opener in week one but fell to Georgia in Athens this past Saturday. On opening weekend, Vanderbilt lost a heart breaker to Ole Miss thanks to a late 75 yard TD run by Jeff Scott. Last week, Vandy took out their frustrations on Austin Peay by scoring 38 in the first half.
Last year, South Carolina won this game by just four points in Nashville. The last time the Gamecocks traveled to Columbia it was an 18 point win for the Gamecocks. Vandy will come into the game with confidence under James Franklin and the Gamecocks will come into the game ready to take out their frustrations from the way things ended in Athens last week.
For South Carolina to win: South Carolina faded in the second half of their game against Georgia last week. After an even first half, Georgia really leaned on Carolina in the fourth quarter and was able to put the game away by running right at the tired Gamecocks defense. Carolina needs to play a complete game and they need to lean on their run and feed the ball more to sophomore RB Mike Davis. QB Connor Shaw works best when he's able to pick his spots behind a strong running game.
For Vanderbilt to win: The Commodores need to control the football and keep the South Carolina defense on the field. At the end of the Georgia game, the South Carolina defense gave up an eight minute drive to Georgia that featured 12 runs. The more the Commodores can keep the Gamecocks defense on the field the more they will wear down and of course it will also keep Shaw and Davis on the sidelines.
Key Player (South Carolina): After two games, Mike Davis is averaging 9.43 yards per carry and in each game has shown the ability to make a big play. Against the Tar Heels he broke off a 75 yard TD run and against Georgia he had another 75 yard run but was tracked down inside the ten. Davis has shown the ability to run inside and outside and he should be a bigger part of the Gamecocks game plan this week.
Key Player (Vanderbilt): It's hard to talk about the Dores without talking about Jordan Matthews. Matthews is arguably the best receiver in the SEC and so far is leading the league with 16 receptions. Matthews is probably licking his chops when he looks at this Gamecocks secondary that gave up 4 TD passes to Georgia last week.
Key Stat: South Carolina has won the last four match-ups in this series. The last time Vanderbilt beat the Gamecocks was on Sept 4th of 2008 and it was in Nashville. The last time the Commodores won in Columbia was 2007.