Published October 19, 2010 - 5:30am
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South Carolina (4-2) and Vanderbilt (2-4) are both coming off week six losses. The Gamecocks dropped one on the road at Kentucky, and Vanderbilt got hammered at Georgia. Both will try and rebound this weekend in Nashville. Here are five things you need to know about South Carolina vs Vanderbilt:
1. South Carolina has to fight through the disappointment. After beating Alabama at home 2 weeks ago and losing to Kentucky on the road last week, the Gamecocks have to put all of that behind them. The East is terrible this year, and they have the head-to-head with Georgia – so there is still a shot to win the East even after such a devastating loss on the road to Kentucky. The Gamecocks have to keep fighting, as they still control their own destiny from here on out.
2. Marcus Lattimore has to get healthy. Lattimore left last week’s game with a sprained ankle. I’m not sure it is imperative to play him this game, as the Gamecocks can win without him against the Commodores, but he will have to be healthy for the remainder of the season in order to win the East and go to Atlanta. If Lattimore cannot play this weekend, it will leave Brian Maddox and Kenny Miles to carry the load for the Gamecocks.
3. Vanderbilt has to get better on third downs and limit turnovers. Last week against Georgia, the ‘Dores were 1-11 on third downs. In order to win in this league, you have to convert big third down opportunities. The Commodores also turned the ball over twice against Georgia. The turnovers were not the reason they lost, but it sure added fuel to the fire. Vanderbilt has to convert third downs and limit their turnovers to pull this one off.
4. The Gamecocks have to win a road game. The only two games South Carolina has lost have been on the road against Auburn and Kentucky. Even though it is Vanderbilt, it is an SEC team, and it is on the road. If South Carolina comes out flat, this could turn out to be an interesting game. Although I think the Gamecocks will take care of business.
5. Get Alshon Jeffery more involved in the passing game. Jeffery has been arguably the best receiver in the conference this year, and he’s not far off from the best receiver in the country as well. A.J. Green probably is the best receiver; however, with Green’s suspension, Jeffery has closed the gap somewhat – if not entirely. Jeffery only caught six passes for 65 yards and a touchdown last week against Kentucky. If I were Coach Spurrier and Stephen Garcia, I would throw the football to this kid and game plan around him. There is no way he shouldn’t catch less than 10 passes a game.