Series history - Vanderbilt

In this series, GamecockAnthem takes a look at the series history of each of the opponents in the 2012 season. Today we take a look at the season-opening opponent, Vanderbilt.

Series History - South Carolina leads 17-4; in Nashville, South Carolina leads 9-2
Last 10 meetings - South Carolina leads 8-2
Under Spurrier - South Carolina leads 5-2
Largest margin of victory - South Carolina 52-14 in 1995
Closest margin of victory - Vanderbilt 11-10 in 1999

While South Carolina holds a commanding series lead over Vanderbilt, the Commodores have definitely been the proverbial thorn in the side of the Gamecocks. Of the past five games in the series, four times the game had been decided by two scores or less. Carolina won the first seven meetings between the two schools, including a 23-7 win in the only non-conference meeting in 1961. Vanderbilt broke through for its first two wins in the series with a 17-14 win in 1998 and an 11-10 win the following year during the 21-game losing streak for Carolina.

The Gamecocks would win the next six meetings between the two before Vanderbilt struck again in one of the most painful loses in school history. South Carolina entered the 2007 match-up with a 6-1 record and ranked sixth in the BCS. Vandy would score 17 points in an eight minute stretch in the first quarter and that would hold as the Gamecocks could manage just two field goals in a 17-6 loss that began a five game losing streak to end the season. Blake Mitchell and Chris Smelley combined to throw three interceptions and were sacked seven times. It was the first time in head coach Steve Spurrier's career that he lost to Vanderbilt.

The two teams would meet in the second week of the season the following year and Vanderbilt would pick off Smelley twice and sack him four times in a 24-17 victory over the Gamecocks. Carolina has won the last three meetings and will go for a fourth straight when the two teams open up the 2012 season on August 30th. It will be the second time the two teams have opened the season facing off against each other, with Carolina walking away with a 31-6 win in Nashville in the 2004 season.

Key to a win - When the two teams last met in Nashville it was an ugly affair. The two teams managed just one touchdown apiece in the first half before Carolina was able to score twice in the second half to leave with a 21-7 win. That was without Marcus Lattimore, who sat out due to an ankle injury he suffered the week before against Kentucky. He will be back after missing the second half of the season last year with a knee injury. If Lattimore has a big game Carolina will win.


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