What to watch: Vanderbilt at South Carolina

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Although everyone will be watching Alabama-Texas A&M, the SEC has some great underrated matchups this weekend outside of College Station, starting with Vanderbilt and South Carolina.

Here’s what to watch for:

Related: Early week three lines

Signature win: The Commodores are still looking for that first signature win of the James Franklin era, and how much better it would be to get it against a team licking their wounds from Saturday. They’ve been to back-to-back bowl games; they’ve been ranked; they have fresh ink in the football records. Now, it’s time to step up and beat a ranked opponent. It’s time to beat someone they’re not supposed to, and the Commodores will get the credit they desire. It would be a huge win for Franklin and the program.

So good at home: Road trips to Columbia haven’t been kind to visiting teams during the Steve Spurrier era. The Gamecocks are 32-5 (86.5%) in the last five years at Williams-Brice. Night games, especially, have rare energy inside the stadium. Expect it to be rocking as usual, which creates a hostile environment and a serious home-field advantage for the Gamecocks.

Related: Spurrier overrated to UGA loss

Davis and Matthews: Two of the best SEC players at their respective positions will be on display. Carolina RB Mike Davis has rushed for 264 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s the only player in the country to have recorded two 75-yard runs. Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews could be the country’s top receiver. What more do we need? Matthews has caught 16 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns, and he is currently fourth in the country averaging over 144 yards per game. Both were underrated entering 2013, and both have a stage on ESPN Saturday night to make a serious statement.

Porous defense: Georgia putting up 41 points and over 500 yards of offense is so alarming that Steve Spurrier threw in some input to Lorenzo Ward. The Bulldogs torched the Carolina secondary for over 300 yards passing and four TDs, and although Vandy isn’t Georgia, they’re going to move the football through the air. Austyn Carta-Samuels is fourth in passing yards with 523 in basically six quarters of play, and Matthews is better than all of Georgia’s receivers. The Gamecocks’ defense has given up 32 plays of 10 yards or more, and that’s second most in the SEC.

Clowney: Do you think Jadeveon Clowney is overhyped? Did you think his 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss last year were impressive? Through two weeks, Clowney has the exact same stats he had last year entering week three – six tackles and one sack. So, to say we’re overreacting about the lack of Clowney’s numbers is accurate. Should the hype settle down? Sure, and it will settle down, but there’s way too much season left to sell you Clowney Heisman stock. He is capable of busting loose at any time.

Photo credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

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COMMENTS

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  • Jimmy Legree will have his hands full with Jordan Matthews. Hopefully the rest of the Carolina secondary shows up this week and doesn’t look as sloppy as they did against UGA. Looking forward to Mike Davis putting up stellar numbers again this week!

    • Mike Davis will be going for his third 100 yard game in a row, and should get it against Vandy. I’m sorry….does Carolina have a defensive secondary? They were absent during the Georgia game and any Offensive Coordinator worth his salary would test our secondary, especially the left side, as soon as the game begins. Hope our coaching staff realizes that as well or it could be a long night. Lets hope for a monster game from Davis and we may have to put up 35 until our defense grows a bit.

  • I wanna know, when in the hell is Carolina gonna start utilizing their TEs? They’re a real threat that has NOT seen much action this season.

  • interesting to see how the defense responds after last week. We need Clowney to step up

    • Not just Clowney…the whole defense needs to step up and start playing smart football.

      • BINGO!! With Clowney at least occupying 2-3 Offensive player ,Quarles ,Sutton & the rotation MUST step up ! This will allow Clowney to break free. Plus moving Clowney after the audibles from upstairs! When we had 1st & goal on the 5 & ran 4 straight plays I was livid! Throw on 1st !! Even an incomplete pass would set up the run . Why did they wait untill the last minute to hit Roland on three straight 1st downs?? Thompson has a proven road record, perhaps he should have been given a chance!! The LB’S better work thier arseholes off this week!! To many questions!!

    • No…we need the defense to…..show up!