Three Keys Revisited - Vanderbilt at USC

Another game against a highly ranked SEC team and another loss for the 'Dores under James Franklin. A team still reeling from everything that has happened, and continues to happen, could easily have disappeared inside their shell and given up after a first half to forget. This team, however, fought back in the final two quarters and gave USC a scare late. Here is how it went down on Saturday.

Another game against a highly ranked SEC team and another loss for the 'Dores under James Franklin. A team still reeling from everything that has happened, and continues to happen, could easily have disappeared inside their shell and given up after a first half to forget. This team, however, fought back in the final two quarters and gave the Gamecocks a scare late. Here is how it went down on Saturday.

1) Frustrate Jadeveon Clowney – Pass

I think in general Vanderbilt did a pretty good job of keeping Clowney quiet. The 'Dores line held him to just one sack, albeit one which created a fumble, in the third quarter. The problem was that all the attention being paid to Clowney allowed some of the other NFL level talents on the South Carolina defensive line to have big days of their own. Chaz Sutton in particular was the beneficiary, with 1.5 sacks, a hurry, and four tackles on the night. Obviously dealing with Clowney was priority number one, but the fact that it came at the expense of protection in other areas of the offensive line was unfortunate.

2) Stop Connor Shaw running the ball - Fail

This is still the Commodore kryptonite. I get that without Chase Garnham there is a huge hole in the 'Dores linebacking corps, but there has to be an answer to this issue with stopping the quarterback run and it has to happen quickly. The two Gamecock quarterbacks combined for over 100 yards on the ground, with most of those runs again coming at key times. These runs frustrate the defense and prolong drives sapping the will of the entire Commodore team. If this particular weakness is not fixed by the time Johnny Football comes to town then watch out.

3) Feed Jordan Matthews - Pass

Matthews did everything he could (as always) but it is just not enough in a team still devoid of other weapons. Matthews had eight receptions for 106 yards, but he was help without a score as the offense really failed to get on track until busting out the Wildcat in the third quarter. Looking deeper into the stats the 'Dores reliance on Matthews at this point is actually frightening. Matthews accounted for two thirds of the team's receptions, 72 percent of the passing yards, and almost 40 percent of the total offense. The only other wide receiver with a catch was Jonathan Krause and it only went for ten yards.

When put in those terms it is really amazing Matthews is able to do what he does on such a consistent basis.

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