Head-to-head: Vanderbilt vs. South Carolina

Next up for Vanderbilt is South Carolina. VandyMania.com compares different critical team areas of Vanderbilt and South Carolina and indicates which team has the edge.

VANDERBILT
EDGE
AREA
South Carolina
EDGE
COMMENTS
 
Vanderbilt rushing offense
vs.
South Carolina rushing defense
 
Vanderbilt's rushing attack, led by tailback Warren Norman, is averaging 153 yards per game (60th nationally). South Carolina has a very formidable rushing defense that is limiting its opposition to just 100 yards (14th nationally) per game on the ground. Big (6-2, 228) strong safety DeVonte Holloman leads the Gamecocks in tackles with 40. He also has two tackles for losses. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore has 37 tackles including 5 tackles for losses.  
EVEN  
Vanderbilt passing offense
vs.
South Carolina passing defense
EVEN  
Vanderbilt's passing attack is ranked 101st (162 ypg.) nationally while South Carolina's passing defense ranks 110th (271 ypg.). Vandy quarterback Larry Smith completed 16 of 33 passes for 132 yards last year in a 14-10 loss at South Carolina. It was his best day ever against an SEC defense. Vanderbilt tight end Brandon Barden has 18 catches for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wide receiver John Cole has 13 receptions. Vanderbilt is 91st nationally in sacks allowed (2.50 per game) while USC is No. 2 nationally in sacks registered (3.67 per game). Three Gamecocks have interceptions this season.  
 
South Carolina rushing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt rushing defense
 
Star tailback Marcus Lattimore was injured in the first half at Kentucky. Kenny Miles (5-10, 185), who rushed for 102 yards against Vandy last year in Columbia, is listed as the backup. It is unclear whether Miles or Lattimore will be starting on Saturday so Vanderbilt is preparing as if it will be Lattimore. Lattimore is not only a solid runner but he's third on the team in receptions. Miles has just one catch on the season. South Carolina averages 146 yards rushing a game, good for No. 69 nationally. Vanderbilt rushing defense is ranked No. 97 (192 ypg) nationally and last week gave up 123 yards to Georgia's backup running back so don't get too excited about the prospect of Lattimore not playing. Safety Sean Richardson leads Vanderbilt in tackles with 49. Linebackers Chris Marve and John Stokes have a combined 86 tackles.  
EVEN  
South Carolina passing offense
vs.
Vanderbilt passing defense
EVEN  
The Gamecocks have been posting similar yardage through the air as Georgia and average 245 yards passing a game. Stephen Garcia has completed 93 of 133 passes for 1,326 yards, 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. That's a 70 percent completion rate. His top targets are big Alshon Jeffery (40 catches) and Tori Gurley (17 catches). The Gamecocks are No. 82 nationally in sacks allowed. Vanderbilt is No. 31 nationally in passing yardage allowed. Cornerback Casey Hayward (4 int) and safety Sean Richardson pace the Commodore secondary.  
EVEN
Special Teams
EVEN  
Vanderbilt and South Carolina are fairly even special teams wise. Vanderbilt's Ryan Fowler has connected on 3 of 4 field goals this season. His long was from 30 yards. South Carolina's Spencer Lanning has made 4 of 5 field goals with a long of 51. Vanderbilt's net punting average is 37.75 yards while South Carolina averages 38.68 yards. Vandy returns punts an average of 6.71 yards while USC returns punt 5.22 yards. Vandy returns kickoffs an average of 23.16 yards while USC's returns are going an average of 21.04 yards. Vandy and USC both are allowing opponents to return kickoffs about 21 yards per return. Warren Norman returned a kickoff for a touchdown in last year's game with USC. Vandy allows opponents to return punts an average of 3.4 yards while USC allows opponents 8.5 yards.  
 
Coaching
 
Steve Spurrier is 181-70-2 in his 21st year of coaching. He won a national title at Florida. Vanderbilt's Robbie Caldwell is 2-4 in his first season as a head coach. He has over 34 years experience as an assistant coach.  
EVEN  
Intangibles
EVEN  
It's a Vanderbilt home game and homecoming which should help fire up the Commodores. Vanderbilt has played well against the Gamecocks the past few years. Vandy won in 2007 and 2008 and fell 14-10 last year in Columbia after several questionable calls hurt the Commodores. South Carolina has lost seven SEC road games in a row. Vandy hasn't won a home SEC game since beating Auburn in 2008.  

PREDICTION: South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 17.

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