NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Vanderbilt Commodores and South Carolina Gamecocks have a lot in frequent. They each are determined with 0-2 data.
There’s a sense of urgency taking part in a 10-game, league-only schedule. The shorten season that includes solely Southeastern Convention matchups raises the stakes of Saturday’s sport in Nashville for each groups.
“We have to win,” Vanderbilt coach Derek mason mentioned. “Similar to South Carolina does, we have to win. So the chance is nice.”
Vanderbilt and South Carolina have every performed ranked groups of their first two video games. And neither the Commodores nor the Gamecocks have been in a position to pull off an upset.
4 of the remaining groups on South Carolina’s schedule at the moment are ranked, whereas Vanderbilt is simply marginally simpler with Florida, Tennessee and Georgia ranked — all inside the highest 15 proper now. Vanderbilt is coming off a 41-7 loss to then-No. 20 LSU after a gap loss at Texas A&M.
South Carolina defensive lineman Kier Thomas mentioned no one likes dropping, and the Gamecocks are working to show all the things round feeling like they did some good issues towards Tennessee and final week in a 38-24 loss to then-No. 3 Florida.
The Gamecocks even have received 11 straight towards Vanderbilt, together with a 24-7 win in Columbia final yr.
“Lots of people on the skin wanting in say we’re not superb, and I’m OK with that,” Thomas mentioned. “Since I’ve been right here, we’ve needed to show folks incorrect. We’re wanting ahead to turning issues round.”
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp mentioned the Gamecocks have had some self-inflicted points, like some drops on offense that price them an opportunity to flip the sphere at Florida. The protection additionally has given up 10 large performs in two video games.
“These are issues we are able to’t overcome proper now,” Muschamp mentioned. “We’ve obtained to play cleaner soccer total.”
Mason is anticipating some wholesome gamers again Saturday. Cornerback Jaylen Mahoney ought to give Vanderbilt some depth on protection. However the largest assist shall be on offense with a pair of receivers in Devin Boddie Jr. and James Bostic and operating again Keyon Henry-Brooks to assist freshman quarterback Ken Seals.
“We’re actively engaged on … pushing just like the envelope offensively as a result of we want manufacturing within the cross sport,” Mason mentioned. “And that’s going to be vital for us as we transfer ahead.”
NOT SO SHI
South Carolina receiver Shi Smith has stood out up to now this season with an SEC-leading 22 catches in losses to ranked groups in Tennessee and Florida. Muschamp mentioned Smith, a 6-foot-4 senior, has proven the boldness and consistency that comes with understanding he’s a main choice within the new offense underneath first-year coordinator Mike Bobo.
Vanderbilt has not misplaced a fumble this season, tied for first nationally up to now. The Commodores misplaced solely three all of final season, which tied for third within the nation. They’ve completed within the prime 10 for the fewest fumbles misplaced three of the previous 4 seasons.
On protection, the Commodores are tied for sixth nationally recovering three fumbles. They’d 5 all of final season.
Gamecocks defensive lineman Kier Thomas doesn’t take note of who’s within the stands or who isn’t, so he’s not overly involved about sparsely crammed or empty stadiums this yr as a result of coronavirus pandemic restrictions. “I’m simply excited to be again,” Thomas mentioned. “It doesn’t actually matter who’s there as alongside as we’re taking part in.”
The Commodores, who returned seven starters from a yr in the past, is giving up a mean of 29 factors a sport. That’s a giant enchancment from final season when Vanderbilt allowed 50.7 factors a sport when taking part in Prime 25 groups.
Observe Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker
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