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  1. Since Hurricane Florence has bullied the South Carolina football team out of its Week 3 game against Marshall, we might as well take an early at who’s up next on the schedule. South Carolina returns to SEC play next weekend with a 4 p.m. showdown at Vanderbilt. The Commodores, however, will have their hands full this weekend as they travel to South Bend to take on No. 8-ranked Notre Dame. Kickoff between Vanderbilt and Notre Dame is set for 2:30 p.m. on NBC, so South Carolina fans who still have power this Saturday can tune in for a sneak peek. Let’s look at a few things to know about the Commodores, as they enter their fifth season under head coach Derek Mason. They are off to a good start. Vanderbilt opened the seasons with easy home wins over Middle Tennessee State (35-7) and Nevada (41-10). Notre Dame, however, presents a completely different type of challenge for Vanderbilt. Mike Tirico, Notre Dame’s TV play-by-play man, feels Vanderbilt has a chance, because of the new defensive coordinator. Jason Tarver has come in from the NFL and they're running similar stuff, but it's a new message from a new messenger,” Tirico said, “So the energy and the passion and the ball-hawking on defense is there. Can they get the Notre Dame to turn it over and get a few short fields? That's how you get the upset in motion on Saturday." ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit has the Irish on upset alert. "I think they better be careful with Vandy," Herbstreit said. "I know it sounds crazy to say that sentence, but Vandy has a veteran team. Vandy is going to be a team that, no matter what Brian Kelly says to his team, they're probably going to have a hard time getting sky-high emotionally for. Vandy is not going to be intimidated by playing in South Bend, they play in the SEC and they play in big stadiums all the time. "I'm not saying 'Hey, look out, Vandy is going to bet Notre Dame flat out.' I'm just saying the Vandy defense alone will be very, competitive against Brandon Wimbush and Notre Dame. They've got NFL players on that defense, especially in the secondary. That's a game that Notre Dame has to be careful with and not look by and look to some of the bigger names on their schedule. We'll see the mental toughness and the maturity of Notre Dame this week." Notre Dame opened as a 15.5-point favorite, but the line has dropped to 13.5. Vanderbilt senior quarterback Kyle Shurmur is 0-2 against South Carolina. In the 2016 opener, Shurmur completed 8-of-22 passes for 73 yards. A year later, in Columbia, his numbers were considerably better. Shurmur connected on 27-of-49 passes for 333 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Like the year before (three points), the Gamecocks won the 2017 matchup by just one score (seven points). So far this season, Shurmur has completed 33-of-49 passes for 428 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. His 167.66 rating is tied for 28th-best in the country. Shurmur is second in school history with 44 career touchdown passes. Jay Cutler owns the record (59). Through the first two games, Vanderbilt’s defense has forced six turnovers – three interceptions and three fumbles. Last season, it took the Commodores nine games last season to collect six turnovers. Vanderbilt’s tied for eighth in the country in turnover margin (+4).

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