Vanderbilt Commodores vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Vanderbilt Commodores (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date and Time: Saturday September 14th, 2013. 7:00PM Eastern
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium Columbia, S.C.
by Jay, Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: VU +13.5/USC -13.5
Over/Under Total: 48.5

SEC East Division foes square this Saturday night when the no. 13 South
Carolina Gamecocks
welcome the Vanderbilt Commodores
into the confines of Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks suffered a tough
loss between the hedges last week 41-30 and must regroup quickly as a feisty
Vanderbilt bunch comes rolling into town. The Commodores suffered a tough
conference loss two weeks ago in their season opener to Ole Miss 39-35 before
capturing their first win last week in a 38-3 rout over Austin Peay. Despite
losing 4 straight to South Carolina, Vanderbilt has notoriously played the
Gamecocks extremely tough and just barely missed out on a big upset last
year in a 17-13 loss in Nashville. However if the Gamecocks have any hangover
effects from the Georgia loss, Vanderbilt could have another shot at an
upset this Saturday night.

Last week the Gamecocks were destroyed on the defensive side of the ball as they gave up 538 total yards. South Carolina’s talented defensive line was shredded for more than 200 yards on the ground and defensive end JaDeveon Clowney made little impact in the pass rush. Georgia running back Todd Gurley consistently kept making big plays and the Gamecock defense could not answer the Georgia running threat. For this week’s matchup, Vanderbilt’s rushing game is highlighted by young tailbacks Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow. Neither back has near the talent of Georgia’s tailbacks but it will still be interesting to see if they can have success in the running game which would be a big boost for the Vanderbilt offense.

Vanderbilt’s most dangerous offensive weapon is wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Matthews is on pace to become the SEC career leader in receptions and reception yards barring any injuries. So far this year, Matthews has already caught 16 passes for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns through two games. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels struggled a bit in the Ole Miss game by tossing two picks and completing just 58% of his throws. Therefore if Clowney and the Gamecock defensive line can get pressure to Samuels, perhaps they can force a few turnovers while taking away the Commodores biggest threat in Jordan Matthews.

Offensively, South Carolina is an established group with great balance. Junior QB Connor Shaw is an efficient passer and can make plays with his feet. The Gamecocks may lack a star studded wide receiver but they have several guys with a lot of speed that pose a homerun threat. Still, the Gamecock offense is perhaps most consistent on the ground in the running game. Sophomore running back Mike Davis could be a star in the making. Each of the last two weeks, Davis has made a huge impact on offense to rush for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. Additionally, backup Brandon Wilds is a bigger tailback that offers a nice change of pace for the Gamecock running game. Both backs are extremely talented but when you throw in the running capability of Connor Shaw off the read option, the Gamecocks are one of the best running teams in the SEC.

The Commodores did not play extremely well against the run in 2012 and they started off SEC play against Ole Miss by giving up over 200 yards on the ground. The Vanderbilt front seven will need to play well in order to keep South Carolina’s running game in check. Vanderbilt does not have the firepower on offense to get into a high scoring game with the Gamecocks. However if they are able to stop the run, the defense could make this another low scoring game similar to last year’s meeting and give their offense a chance to score an upset.

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The last 6 meetings between South Carolina and Vanderbilt have all gone under the total mark. In fact there has not been more than 30 points scored except once in the last 5 meetings. These two teams have a history of battling each other extremely well and I think both defenses have a chip on their shoulder following some lackluster performances. Take the under 48.5!

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