Gameday: South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt

Ninth-ranked South Carolina opens up the season tonight when it takes on Vanderbilt in Nashville. Kickoff is set for 7:00 ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN as the season opener for college football. It also marks the return of Marcus Lattimore to the football field.

THIS WEEK'S GAME: South Carolina at Vanderbilt, Aug. 30 The Gamecocks have won three consecutive games against Vanderbilt, but each has been hard fought. They understand the Commodores lying in wait when they come to Nashville. Vanderbilt has a new found confidence following 2011. Despite finishing with a 6-7 record, Vandy advanced to a bowl game under first year coach James Franklin. The Gamecocks have bigger goals as, following a school record 11 victories a year ago, the team hopes to win its first Southeastern Conference title.

KEYS TO THE GAME: South Carolina will attempt to establish the run against Vanderbilt, which means going to TB Marcus Lattimore early and often. That will allow the QB Connor Shaw to more easily work the receiving corps into the game. The play is to potentially give the ball to Lattimore 25-to-30 times, with backup Kenny Miles getting 10-to-15 carries. The Gamecocks will be more aggressive on defense, but coordinator Lorenzo Ward may have to temper the aggression due to an inexperienced secondary. P Tyler Hull and K Adam Yates are first time starters.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

RB Marcus Lattimore
The junior All-American is the foundation of the South Carolina offense. Although the unit played well in their last three games, the offense is much better with Lattimore in it.

FS D. J. Swearinger After playing half with 2011 season despite a broken bone in his foot, he has taken the mantle as the leader of the unit. As a junior he was a leader by action, now he is also becoming more vocal.

C T. J. Johnson The Gamecocks have a talented offensive line, but it is young and inexperienced. Johnson, a senior, will be leaned on to guide the group.

ROSTER REPORT

CB Akeem Auguste, slated as a starter at cornerback, will miss at least half the season because of a groin injury. That comes after the senior missed virtually all of the 2011 campaign because of a broken foot.

RB Shon Carson, after missing virtually the entire 2011 season following a knee injury against Georgia in the second game, will miss at least the first half of the 2012 campaign following surgery on his left wrist.

RB Brandon Wilds has missed most of fall practice because of an ankle sprain that will keep him out of at least the first three games.


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