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 GCF  South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt Game Preview, Prediction & Discussion Thread


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 GCF  South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt Game Preview, Prediction & Discussion Thread

Oct. 13, 2021

HOW TO WATCH SOUTH CAROLINA VS VANDERBILT FOOTBALL GAME

Who: South Carolina Gamecocks (3-3, 0-3 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (2-4, 0-2 SEC)

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C.

 When: 4 p.m. Saturday TV: SEC Network

 

 The Gamecocks fell 45-20 to Tennessee last Saturday. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, continues to struggle in the basement of the SEC. Commodores are last in total offense, last in scoring offense, next to last in total defense, last in pass efficiency, next to last in rush defense. Vandy was shut out by two conference opponents, Georgia and Florida, and has eked out wins over Mountain West Colorado State and now 0-7 UConn.

South Carolina carries a 12-game winning streak into this week’s homecoming matchup against the Commodores and has won 26 of the matchup’s 30 all-time meetings. The Gamecocks came up with a 41-7 victory over Vanderbilt last year in Nashville, one of their two wins in 2020. Saturday’s afternoon kick coincides with the the first weekend of the S.C. State Fair.

Vanderbilt's offense is not consistent, and it’s not explosive, but Vanderbilt’s offense is improving.

It couldn’t do anything against Georgia and Florida, but they aren’t part of this program’s measuring stick at the moment. They were able to run on Stanford, and the passing game got in its reps in the win over UConn – that matters to have some success, even against the downtrodden.

The ground game might not be doing much, but the offensive line hasn’t been too bad, the defense has been okay on third downs – at least when it’s not dealing with the elite  and South Carolina isn’t going to walk through the tunnel and start rolling.

The Gamecock D is horrendous on third downs, the passing game isn’t anything great, and turnovers are a problem. It’s not consistent, and it’s not explosive, but Vanderbilt’s offense is improving.

It couldn’t do anything against Georgia and Florida, but they aren’t part of this program’s measuring stick at the moment. They were able to run on Stanford, and the passing game got in its reps in the win over UConn – that matters to have some success, even against the downtrodden.

The ground game might not be doing much, but the offensive line hasn’t been too bad, the defense has been okay on third downs – at least when it’s not dealing with the elite – and South Carolina isn’t going to walk through the tunnel and start rolling. The Gamecock D is horrendous on third downs, the passing game isn’t anything great, and turnovers are a problem but Gamecocks running game will show life and should win here easily.

GAMECOCK PLAYERS TO WATCH

 RB Kevin Harris: Entering Saturday, the Gamecocks hadn’t run for more than 100 yards since the season opener against FCS foe Eastern Illinois. But against the Volunteers, running back RB looked closer to the form that helped him lead the SEC in rushing a season ago. Harris wasn’t perfect — his 16 carries for 61 yards left something to be wanted. That said, the Georgia native found the end zone twice and dodged tacklers with the strength and speed onlookers grew accustomed to a season ago. South Carolina finished the afternoon with 153 rush yards  the most any opponent other than No. 20 Florida has accumulated on Tennessee this season. It’s only one game, so it’s not quite worth overreacting to, but Harris and USC’s running game clearly looked closer to the part on Saturday.

QB Luke Doty: Continues to look like the long-term answer under center despite a handful of bobbled snaps and an interception on a two-point conversion try that he attempted to toss out of the end zone. 69 of 119 for 733 yards, three touchdowns and one interception  but they’ve been good enough to keep South Carolina in games (think Kentucky three weeks ago).

WR Josh Vann: The most productive offensive player, though, Josh Vann. For the year, Vann leads the team in yards from scrimmage with 394, including three carries for 62 yards and 16 catches for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Vann has lost a fumble, but he’s still an elite target.

 VANDY PLAYERS TO WATCH

 Will Sheppard, WR: Sheppard is the SEC’s 11th-best receiver through six games, splitting receptions with teammates Chris Pierce, Devin Boddie and Cam Johnson. Sheppard has totaled 333 yards on 31 catches with two touchdowns, averaging 10.7 yards per catch. The 6-foot-3 sophomore’s best game included a 38-yard touchdown reception in Vanderbilt’s 30-28 win over UConn on Oct. 2.

Dashaun Jerkins, S: Jerkins intercepted Florida quarterback Emory Jones at the Gators’ 30-yard line last Saturday and has created turnovers throughout his time with Vanderbilt. Last season, the Commodores’ safety forced two fumbles and recovered one, finishing 2020 tied for fifth in the SEC in forced fumbles per game. Ken Seals, QB: Seals is in his second year at the helm of Vandy’s offense and has passed for 1,086 yards through the Commodores’ first six games. In his best game of 2021 against UConn, Seals completed 27 of his 40 passes for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He went 22-of-43 passing for 192 yards with two interceptions against Florida.

THIS WEEK’S BETTING ODDS

 South Carolina opened as a 16-point favorite against the Commodores, but the line shifted to favoring the Gamecocks by as many as 20 points in other sportsbooks. The VegasInsider consensus  Gamecocks as of now by 18.

GCF PREDICTION 

South Carolina 26, Vanderbilt 10

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Gamecocks running game come alive tomorrow?

 Kevin Harris looked closer to form on Saturday in Knoxville as he notched the first two touchdowns of his 2021 campaign. That said, this feels like the kind of game Harris can springboard into success in the second half of the season. In last season’s game in Nashville, Harris grounded and pounded his way to 171 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries — including an 88-yard touchdown scamper. For context, he’s got 300 yards and two TDs on 63 touches through six games this season. Harris has said he’s fully healthy after missing the season opener and some time during camp due to an offseason back procedure and an undisclosed illness. Saturday’s contest at Tennessee was the first glimpse we’ve seen this year of the talented tailback that led the SEC in rushing a season ago. Facing a Vanderbilt defense that’s allowing just under 200 yards per game on the ground, expect Harris and running mate Juju McDowell to be big pieces in Saturday’s contest.

 

 

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 DBS CAM SMITH AND JAYLEN FOSTER

Vanderbilt hasn’t exactly been a world beater on offense. The Commodores have frankly been the complete opposite currently sitting 12th in rushing offense, 14th in passing offense and 14th in scoring in the SEC. That said, when quarterback Ken Seals has enough time and space to throw, receivers Chris Pierce and Will Sheppard can take a top off a defense. Pierce and Sheppard are neck-a-neck on the season-long charts. Sheppard currently leads the team with 333 yards on 31 receptions, while Pierce is just behind him at 315 yards on 29 catches. Sheppard is also tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with two, along with former four-star recruit Cam Johnson. Struggles aside, South Carolina has to be better in coverage than it was a week ago at Tennessee. Cornerback Cam Smith has struggled with injuries throughout the season, but it’s expected he can play on Saturday. Combine Smith with a defensive backfield that also includes safety Jaylan Foster who’s playing at an All-American level  and the Gamecocks should have the bodies to limit Pierce and Sheppard’s effectiveness. The Gamecocks have been largely productive against the pass this season. Facing a Vanderbilt team that has had its own issues in moving the ball, the Gamecocks can’t get lackadaisical on the back end or afford any broken coverages on Saturday.

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Good break out game for Vann& Jalen Brooks. After starting the season on a tear, Josh Vann has been limited to nine catches for 83 yards. He also hasn’t recorded more than 45 yards in a game since Week 3 at Georgia. A hamstring injury did limit Vann’s availability against Troy two weeks ago — though he finished the game with 45 yards receiving and another 52 yards rushing — but the Gamecocks need more out of him as their No. 1 receiver to pick up their first SEC win of the year. Brooks has come on stronger of late after a slow start to the season, but is still looking for that major breakout game. His one-handed grab at Georgia was a flash of what he can do. His touchdown reception against Kentucky also pulled South Carolina within a score of upsetting what’s now a top-15 team. If USC can get just a bit more from Brooks or Vann this weekend, it’d go a long way in helping the Gamecocks offense open up like offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield has hoped the last few weeks.

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20 minutes ago, FeatheredCock said:


Good break out game for Vann& Jalen Brooks. After starting the season on a tear, Josh Vann has been limited to nine catches for 83 yards. He also hasn’t recorded more than 45 yards in a game since Week 3 at Georgia. A hamstring injury did limit Vann’s availability against Troy two weeks ago — though he finished the game with 45 yards receiving and another 52 yards rushing — but the Gamecocks need more out of him as their No. 1 receiver to pick up their first SEC win of the year. Brooks has come on stronger of late after a slow start to the season, but is still looking for that major breakout game. His one-handed grab at Georgia was a flash of what he can do. His touchdown reception against Kentucky also pulled South Carolina within a score of upsetting what’s now a top-15 team. If USC can get just a bit more from Brooks or Vann this weekend, it’d go a long way in helping the Gamecocks offense open up like offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield has hoped the last few weeks.

And add in EJ AT 6'7" 243 lbs would be a mismatch for any DB.  Like to see what he can do after the catch.

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