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SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - CAN SPURRIER GET HIS REVENGE?

9/4/08

In our South Carolina write up last week we noted that we were high in the Gamecocks but also made mention of Spurriers teams starting slowly the last few years. As a result we put out an opinion on NC ST plus the points and it was looking as though we'd be right on the money as South Carolina led just 3-0 at the half and 13-0 after 3 quarters behind four Tommy Beecher interceptions. Beecher came out late in the 3rd quarter and Chris Smelley came off the bench to throw 2 TD passes and lead the Gamecocks to a rushing TD to cap off a 34-0 shut out win. Smelley came off the bench last season in the LSU game. Then started the following week against Miss State and threw for a career high 279 yards and 2 TD's in a 38-21 win.

Vanderbilt upset Miami Ohio last week but really, how much of an upset was it. We're still talking the SEC over the MAC. But the answer to this weeks game may lie in last weeks box scores. Offensive mistakes aside, the Gamecock defense was fantastic. NC ST never made it past the SC 32 yard line. The Gamecocks won the first down battle 20-10. Total Net yards was in favor of SC 369 to just 138. Rushing 171-89 and passing 198-49. Take away the 4 picks and the 7 penalties and the damage could have been much worse.

Vandy on the other hand, in their 34-13 win  didn't dominate every category. Both teams had 17 first downs. Total yardage was about even with Vandy winning the rushing battle 269-96 behind QB Chris Nickson's career high 166 rushing yards while Miami Ohio won the passing yards battle 244-91. Perhaps there lies the key. South Carolina figures to be able to move the ball on the ground and thru the air. If they stop Nickson from running wild it's doubtful he'll be able to do much thru the air. If SC gets out in front early and forces Vandy to throw, it could be lights out for Vandy.

Oh, and how about a little sweet revenge for Mr Spurrier this week. Last year Vandy knocked off South Carolina 17-6 making it the first time Spurrier ever lost to them (14-1). It was also the first loss in a 5 game slide to end the year for the Gamecocks.

Look for South Carolina to play much better offensively this week. Look for the defense which returns 10 starters from last year, to continue to gel. While Vandy pulls some upsets every year and plays some tough SEC teams close, this game could end up being one sided if our take on both of these squads is on the money this year. We expect big things from Spurrier and company. We expect very little from Vandy. South Carolina -10

 

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