Three keys to a Vanderbilt upset

Vanderbilt can beat South Carolina on Thursday. With ESPN in attendance and the SEC Title Game hopes of the Gamecocks on the line, lil' ole Vandy has the talent and focus to announce their arrival to the college football world in front of a national audience. Here are three keys which will help the Commodores achieve that goal.

1) Feed off of the crowd

South Carolina is very good. The Gamecocks are ranked in the top 10 preseason for the first time in their history for a reason and along with Georgia many think it will be a two horse race to see who represents the SEC East in Atlanta. With that being said it is vitally important that Vanderbilt find a way to get the crowd into the game early and feed off the energy they will bring. It is expected to be sold out in Nashville and if the black and gold can get an early interception or a big play in the return game then the fans will explode. Keeping the crowd in the game for the full 60 minutes could be the difference between winning and losing.

2) Keep Marcus Lattimore quiet

Though he hasn't been mentioned a whole lot in these terms yet it is quite possible that Marcus Lattimore could be a Heisman contender by the end of the season if South Carolina can stay undefeated. Lattimore was on his way to a monster year in 2012 when a torn ACL cost him the last six games of the season. By that point, in just six and a bit games, the sophomore had put up 818 yards and 11 total touchdowns. Lattimore appears to be fully healed from the injury and head coach Steve Spurrier says the tailback is "ready to carry it 25 or 30 times''. He has been full contact throughout the summer and though Vandy will not be able to totally stop an on song Lattimore, they will have to keep his yardage under control and prevent any big runs if the Commodores are going to win.

3) The offensive line has to step up

Though Melvin Ingram has taken his first round NFL talent to San Diego the South Carolina defensive front is still absolutely loaded. Jadeveon Clowney, who still has one of the most impressive high school highlight reels out there, will be back looking to build on a freshman campaign which brought eight sacks and five forced fumbles. He will be joined by any number of accomplished pass rushers in a new blitz heavy system which figures to put even more pressure on opposing offensive lines.

The Commodore offensive line will be the first to step up and face this attack, and how they play could decide the game. There is no doubt that with the Rodgers to Matthews connection and the rushing ability of Zac Stacy Vandy has the skill position players to hang if this turns into a shootout, but it is all for nothing if the line falls apart. To put it another way, if Jordan Rodger's shirt is clean at the end of 60 minutes there may well be cause for a field storming in Nashville. Top Stories