HEAD TO HEAD: VANDERBILT VS. SOUTH CAROLINA

Vanderbilt visits South Carolina on Saturday night. VandyMania.com's D.T. Yates compares the two teams in several critical areas. We also make a prediction on the game's final score.

VANDERBILT PASSING OFFENSE
VS.
SOUTH CAROLINA PASSING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews ranks third in the country in receiving yards (289) while leading the team with 16 receptions and two touchdowns. The Commodores have the 30th ranked passing offense averaging 286.5 passing yards per game. Vanderbilt recently did an excellent job to get true freshman Jordan Cunningham involved in the passing game. He caught a team-high seven receptions for 67 yards receiving against Austin Peay--the first receptions of his career. Senior receiver Jonathan Krause is second on the team with eight catches for 126 yards. Redshirt sophomore Steven Scheu leads the tight ends with three receptions for 51 yards receiving and a score.

Prior to the opener against Ole Miss there was some concern that quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels might not be able to handle the pressure of SEC defenses. Samuels is 35 for 58 for 523 yards passing and three touchdowns. The senior had two interceptions against Ole Miss that hit receivers in the hands.

South Carolina's passing defense ranks 84th in the nation and 13th in the SEC allowing opponents 251.5 passing yards per game. The Gamecocks were recently torched for 309 yards passing and four touchdowns by Georgia's Aaron Murray who finished the day completing 17 for 23 pass attempts.

Sophomore strong safety T.J. Gurley currently leads the Gamecocks with 20 tackles, including 15 solo stops. With 15 career starts, junior free safety Brison Williams is a defensive leader and captain for the Gamecocks and has tallied six tackles through two games.

Junior cornerback Victor Hampton is considered the best cover corner in the South Carolina secondary. Cornerback Jimmy Legree adds experience to the Gamecocks secondary and is one of only four scholarship seniors on the South Carolina roster.

VANDERBILT RUSHING OFFENSE
VS.
SOUTH CAROLINA RUSHING DEFENSE
EDGE: SOUTH CAROLINA
REMARKS: Vanderbilt's rushing offense currently ranks 75th in the country, averaging 147.5. passing yards per game. The Commodores rotate between redshirt sophomore Jerron Seymour, sophomore Brian Kimbrow, and redshirt senior Wesley Tate. Seymour currently leads the team averaging six yards per carry, with two scores. Kimbrow, who is an elusive option that gives the Vanderbilt rushing offense a quick change of pace, averages 5.6 yards per carry with one touchdown. Tate has gotten the most touches out of any Commodore but hasn't been as productive averaging 2.5 yards per carry, with two scores.

The Gamecocks rushing defense is ranked 73rd in the country and 12th in the SEC, allowing opponents 163 rushing yards per game. Georgia did not have a rusher run for less than four yards per carry against the Gamecocks last week.

Jadeveon Clowney earned a unanimous All-American awards as a sophomore but has been limited in his first two games. Clowney is currently tied for 12th on the team with six tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack.

Sophomore middle linebacker Kaiwan Lewis leads the front seven with 15 tackles, including one for a loss, and half a sack. South Carolina has already gotten excellent production out of true freshman weakside linebacker Skai Moore who is third on the team with 13 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, and half a sack.

SOUTH CAROLINA RUSHING OFFENSE
VS.
VANDERBILT RUSHING DEFENSE
EDGE: SOUTH CAROLINA
REMARKS: The Gamecocks main rushing threat is sophomore Mike Davis who averages 9.4 yards per carry, with 264 yards rushing and two scores. Sophomore Brandon Wilds has rushed for 73 yards rushing, a touchdown, and averages 4.9 yards per carry.

Senior quarterback Connor Shaw is also a threat to run with as many carries at Davis (28). Shaw has rushed for 118 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, and averages 59 yards rushing per game. South Carolina has the 35th ranked rushing offense in the nation, averaging 227 rushing yards per game.

Vanderbilt owns the 59th ranked rushing defense allowing opponents 145.5 rushing yards per game. Sophomore middle linebacker Jake Sealand will make his first career start for the 'Dores in place of injured senior Chase Garnham. Sophomore linebacker Darrean Herring is tied for fifth on the team with eight tackles, a sack, and two passes defended.

Junior defensive end Kyle Woestmann is tied for first on the team with two sacks, while adding five solo stops. Opposite Woestmann is senior Walker May who has four tackles, including 1½ for a loss, and a sack.

SOUTH CAROLINA PASSING OFFENSE
VS.
VANDERBILT PASSING DEFENSE
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Senior signal caller Connor Shaw has completed 27 for 45 pass attempts for 377 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Gamecocks passing offense is ranked 83rd in the country and 10th in the SEC, averaging 203 passing yards per game.

Redshirt junior receiver Nick Jones leads the South Carolina receiving corps with 10 receptions for 118 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Shaq Roland has already matched his reception total from a year ago (five) for a team-high 123 yards receiving and a touchdown. Junior receiver Bruce Ellington has two catches for 30 receiving yards.

Vanderbilt has the 31st ranked passing defense with opponents averaging 168.5 passing yards per game. The Commodore secondary has consistently been one of the top defensive groups during James Franklin's tenure. Senior cornerback Andre Hal is listed to multiple award watch lists and is tied for first on the team with 11 tackles, including one for a loss, with a team-high three passes defended.

Free safety is locked down by senior Kenny Ladler who is third on the team with 10 tackles including, eight solo stops. Strong safety Javon Marshall is tied with Hal for first on the team with 11 tackles, including a team-high 10 solo stops.

SPECIAL TEAMS
EDGE: VANDERBILT
REMARKS: Commodores redshirt sophomore Taylor Hudson ranks 37th in the country and 5th in the SEC averaging 43.7 yards per punt. Hudson has booted three punts for 50 or more yards, and pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line four times.

Vanderbilt receiver Jonathan Krause ranks fourth in the SEC averaging 5.7 yards per punt return in six returns, with a season long return of 17 yards.

Sophomore Brian Kimbrow, and senior Andre Hal have handled the majority of the kick return duties for the 'Dores, though freshman defensive back Darrius Sims cranked out a 34-yard kickoff return against Ole Miss.

South Carolina's Tyler Hull ranks 113th in the country and 12th in the conference averaging 36.9 yards per punt, with two punts pinning opponents inside their 20-yard line and a season long of 48 yards.

South Carolina's Victor Hampton has three punt returns for a total of 22 yards, with a season long return of 13 yards.

Sophomore tailback Shon Carson has handled most of the kickoff return duties for the Gamecocks averaging 18.5 yards per return, with a long return of 27 yards.

INTANGIBLES
EDGE: SOUTH CAROLINA
REMARKS: Vanderbilt and South Carolina have had their fair share of close games in recent years. With the Gamecocks coming off a tough loss against Georgia they'll be looking to get back on track against the Commodores.

South Carolina is 10 of 25 in third-down conversion attempts. The Gamecocks have attempted five fourth-down conversions this season converting two of them.

Vanderbilt has converted 12 of 27 third-down conversion attempts on the season. The Commodores are a perfect 1-for-1 in fourth-down conversion attempts.

South Carolina gets the home field advantage with quarterback Connor Shaw undefeated in starting appearances at home in his career.

The Commodores had trouble defending the read option and screen pass against Ole Miss. With a mostly young set of linebackers in charge it could be another long day for the defense as Shaw is another exceptionally mobile quarterback.

COACHING
EDGE: SOUTH CAROLINA
REMARKS: With preseason expectations high and a horrendous off the field issue to deal with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin has done his best to keep his team focused on the next game on the schedule, and things that they can control. A road win against the 13th ranked Gamecocks would finally give him the SEC upset that fans have been craving since his arrival. Franklin currently has a 16-12 record with Vanderbilt, the highest win percentage for a Commodore coach since Steve Sloan from 1973-74.

Vanderbilt is the only SEC team that has returned its entire coaching staff from a season ago.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has a career 18-2 record against Vanderbilt. During his tenure with the Gamecocks the head ball coach holds a 6-2 record against the 'Dores. In his ninth season with the Gamecocks Spurrier holds a 67-38 record which makes him the Gamecocks winningest coach. Including his tenure at Duke and Florida, Spurrier holds a 209-78-2 record in 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 31, Vanderbilt 27.

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