Three Keys - Vanderbilt at South Carolina

The Commodores travel to Columbia this weekend to face South Carolina with the two teams coming off of very different week two results. While the 'Dores were putting away Austin Peay by the second quarter, the Gamecocks were embroiled in a street fight with Georgia in Athens, one they came out on the wrong side of.

The Commodores travel to Columbia this weekend to face South Carolina with the two teams coming off of very different week two results. While the 'Dores were putting away Austin Peay by the second quarter, the Gamecocks were embroiled in a street fight with Georgia in Athens, one they came out on the wrong side of.

Now, with national title hopes most likely gone, the 'Cocks are a wounded animal whose star player is questioning his role and looking to break out. Vanderbilt meanwhile is still looking for that first marquee win against one of the SEC big boys under James Franklin. Here are the three keys which will give Vandy a shot at that victory.

1) Frustrate Jadeveon Clowney

This was supposed to be the year where Jadeveon Clowney redefined how the defensive end position is played at the college level. Instead the player who was projected as a Heisman front runner and a future number one overall draft pick has been a colossal disappointment. After an ineffective day against a North Carolina offensive line which is hardly the best in the game, Clowney was taken out of the equation by a Georgia team who spent the afternoon either double teaming, quick passing, or running to the other side of the formation. The result is a frustrated and disappointed defensive end who is questioning why his coach will not allow him to shift on the defensive side to create different match ups.

After two games Clowney has six tackles and one sack. Despite all this he is still the premier pass rusher in the game today. Keeping him off of Austyn Carta-Samuels is the key for the 'Dores to have a chance in this game. If Clowney blows up for a three or four sack performance it will get the crowd involved and the defense amped up. The combination of Wesley Johnson (and whoever else) blocking and Franklin's game plan has to be geared towards keeping the defensive end quiet.

2) Stop Connor Shaw running the ball

In the one real game that Vandy has played this year the quarterback running game killed them. Bo Wallace may not have put up a particularly gaudy stats against the 'Dores, but at one point in the game it seemed like every time South Carolina needed a play he would take off for the first down. Shaw is a better runner than Wallace and he is working behind a stronger and more dominant offensive line. Though his passing has improved, Shaw's first instinct when he sees space is to tuck and run. Containing his yardage on the ground is vitally important.

3) Feed Jordan Matthews

Until someone else proves otherwise in a game that matters, Jordan Matthews is option a, b, and c for the 'Dores offense. The South Carolina defense, especially on the back end, played very young against Georgia with a number of mis-reads and blown coverages. The most notable of these was the complete breakdown in the secondary on the 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley. Matthews has become a master at finding holes in zones or producing just enough speed to get open one-on-one. If Vanderbilt has any chance at the upset, and I believe they do, then Matthews has to put up over 100 yards receiving with a score or two.

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