This week’s matchup with the Commodores give the Gamecocks one of their best shots at cracking the win column in conference play. Vanderbilt has slogged through its first season under head coach Clark Lea, with its two wins coming in close matchups against a now 2-3 Colorado State and winless UConn. Vanderbilt is at the bottom of the SEC in total offense and 13th in total defense.
South Carolina is coming off a 45-20 loss to Tennessee in Knoxville, where a nightmare first quarter saw the Gamecocks down 28-0 early after offensive miscues and delayed defensive adjustments.
Beamer was optimistic about what he saw from the Gamecocks in the second half, where South Carolina kept the Volunteers’ high-tempo offense to 99 yards and a single touchdown after giving up 373 yards and 38 points in the first half.
The Gamecocks’ offense is one of the main areas of needed improvement ahead of Vanderbilt, as USC continued to struggle finishing drives against the Vols. South Carolina has been outscored 101-43 in SEC play, losing to Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Vanderbilt is coming off its second shutout loss of 2021 and has yet to score against a conference opponent. The Commodores give up an average of 36.2 points per game, a mark the Gamecocks surpassed just once in their 46-0 win over FCS Eastern Illinois in Week 1.
What you need to know about the Week 7 matchup:
What channel is the South Carolina game on?
Who: Vanderbilt Commodores (2-4, 0-2 SEC) at South Carolina Gamecocks (3-3, 0-3 SEC)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (77,559) in Columbia, S.C.
TV: SEC Network
On-air announce crew: Dave Neal, play-by-play; Deuce McCallister, analyst; Andraya Carter, sideline
Radio: 107.5 FM in the Columbia area (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analyst; Jamar Nesbit, sideline) … See all the radio affiliates around South Carolina here.
Satellite radio: Sirius 137/XM 190
Series history: South Carolina leads Vanderbilt in the all time series 26-4. The Gamecocks have won the last 12 matchups and carry a 11-2 record against the Commodores in Columbia.
Weather forecast for Columbia, SC
Saturday’s weather will be partly cloudy and warm, with a high of 82 degrees around kickoff and temperatures in the low 70s at the end of the game. There’s a 20% chance of rain, and winds will be around 11 mph.
SC State Fair and Homecoming Info
Fans heading to the South Carolina-Vanderbilt game this week should be aware the game coincides with the S.C. State Fair’s opening weekend. Planning ahead for increased traffic and leaving early to secure parking space are recommended.
Because of the State Fair, Gamecock Club members with reserved parking in the Lexington Medical Center Fair Park will not have access to their usual spots in the lot this week. Fairgrounds parking, for $20, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The lot opens at 9 a.m for both fair and football parking.
Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt is also part of the University of South Carolina’s homecoming week.
South Carolina vs Vanderbilt game prediction
ESPN’s Football Power Index gives South Carolina a 92.6% chance to win over the Commodores.
Point spread for Vandy vs USC Gamecocks
South Carolina opened as a 20-point favorite in the Circa Sportsbook and 16 points at other books. The line late in the week was 18.5 points, according to VegasInsider.
ESPN Chalk gambling writer David Purdum told The State some of that movement can be attributed to bettors’ difficulty getting a pulse on Vanderbilt through the first half of the season.
“Vanderbilt’s been a very challenging team for the bookmakers to get a hold of,” Purdum said. “They just can’t figure out how bad they really are, and that sometimes is the difficult challenge for the guys that are making the odds.”
Week 7 SEC college football betting lines
Noon: Auburn at Arkansas (-3.5) Noon: Florida (-11) at LSU Noon: Texas A&M (-9) at Missouri 3:30 p.m.: Kentucky at Georgia (-23) 4 p.m.: Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-18.5) 7 p.m.: Alabama (-17) at Mississippi State 7:30 p.m.: Ole Miss (-3) at Tennessee
South Carolina football injury report
Defensive back Cam Smith did not travel to the Tennessee game, but Beamer said he practiced this week and should be available Saturday.
Offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols was back at practice this week after recovering from an ankle injury, Beamer said.
Linebacker Sherrod Greene remains out after undergoing surgery on his lower right leg following the Georgia game Sept. 18.
Gamecocks vs Vanderbilt Commodores: What to watch for
South Carolina will be looking to get its offense off the ground against Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks have figured out a way to piece together drives in flashes, but as quarterback Luke Doty told reporters this week, they’re looking to finish drives — with touchdowns.
One of the primary challenges Vanderbilt will pose is in its secondary, which came up with two interceptions against Florida quarterbacks Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson last week. Even still, the Commodores have the conference’s worst passing defense, giving up an average of 251.8 yards per game in the air.
Doty’s progression since taking the helm in Week 3 at Georgia has been a positive for South Carolina, as he’s shown improvement in at least one statistical area in each game since Kentucky. He totaled his best completion percentage of 2021 against Kentucky (68%), his most completions against Troy (20) and his best rushing total of the season against Tennessee (29 yards).
South Carolina’s defense should match up well against Vanderbilt quarterback Ken Seals, who has already thrown seven interceptions this season. The Gamecocks are No. 7 in the nation and top of the SEC in turnovers gained, coming up with nine interceptions and 14 total turnovers at the season’s midpoint.
South Carolina players to watch
1. Running back Kevin Harris has an opportunity to continue his improvement against one of the SEC’s worst rushing defenses. Harris has consistently seen his workload and production increase throughout 2021 since recovering from an offseason back procedure. Last week at Tennessee, Harris totaled his highest single-game rushing total this season, accumulating 61 yards on 16 carries.
2. Tight end Jaheim Bell has seen his role continue to increase throughout his sophomore season. He’s shown his value in the Gamecocks’ offense through South Carolina’s last two games, hauling in 41 yards on two catches against Troy and 43 yards on four catches against Tennessee.
3. Safety R.J. Roderick didn’t play in the first half at Tennessee after being ejected for targeting against Troy, but he made an impact in the Gamecocks’ second-half efforts in Knoxville. He finished his single-half performance with four tackles and is expected to return to the starting lineup against Vanderbilt.
Three Vanderbilt football players to watch
1. Wide receiver Will Sheppard is the SEC’s 11th-best receiver through six games, splitting receptions with teammates Chris Pierce, Devin Boddie and Cam Johnson. Sheppard has totaled 333 yards on 31 catches with two touchdowns, averaging 10.7 yards per catch. The 6-foot-3 sophomore’s best game included a 38-yard touchdown reception in Vanderbilt’s 30-28 win over UConn on Oct. 2.
2. Safety Dashaun Jerkins intercepted Florida quarterback Emory Jones at the Gators’ 30-yard line last Saturday and has created turnovers throughout his time with Vanderbilt. Last season, the Commodores’ safety forced two fumbles and recovered one, finishing 2020 tied for fifth in the SEC in forced fumbles per game
3. Quarterback Ken Seals is in his second year at the helm of Vandy’s offense and has passed for 1,086 yards through the Commodores’ first six games. In his best game of 2021 against UConn, Seals completed 27 of his 40 passes for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He went 22-of-43 passing for 192 yards with two interceptions against Florida.
South Carolina Gamecocks 2021 football schedule
Home games in bold
Sept. 4: South Carolina 46, Eastern Illinois 0 Sept. 11: South Carolina 20, East Carolina 17 Sept. 18: Georgia 40, South Carolina 13
Sept. 25: Kentucky 16, South Carolina 10
Oct. 2: South Carolina 23, Troy 14 Oct. 9: Tennessee 45, South Carolina 20
Oct. 16 vs. Vanderbilt, 4 p.m. (SEC Network) Oct. 23 at Texas A&M, 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network) Nov. 6 vs. Florida Nov. 13 at Missouri Nov. 20 vs. Auburn Nov. 27 vs Clemson
South Carolina football depth chart vs Vanderbilt
Any position, whether it’s a starter or a backup, is listed with an —OR— designation.
QB — Luke Doty (Zeb Noland, Jason Brown)
RB — ZaQuandre White —OR— MarShawn Lloyd —OR— Juju McDowell —OR— Kevin Harris
WR — Jalen Brooks (Xavier Legette)
WR — Dakereon Joyner (Ahmarean Brown)
WR — Josh Vann (Geri-Cari Caldwell)
LT — Jazston Turnetine —OR— Jakai Moore
LG — Vershon Lee (Jaylen Nichols)
OC — Eric Douglas (Vincent Murphy)
RG — Jovaughn Gwyn (Wyatt Campbell —OR— Hank Manos)
RT — Dylan Wonnum (Tyshawn Wannamaker)
TE — Nick Muse (E.J. Jenkins)
TE — Jaheim Bell (Traevon Kenion, Keveon Mullins)
EDGE — Aaron Sterling (Jordan Burch)
DT — Jabari Ellis (Tonka Hemingway)
DT — Zacch Pickens (Alex Huntley)
EDGE — Kingsley Enagbare (Jordan Strachan)
NICK — David Spaulding (Carlins Platel)
MLB — Damani Staley (Debo Williams)
WLB — Brad Johnson (Mo Kaba —OR— Darryle Ware)
CB — Cam Smith (Dominick Hill)
SS — R.J. Roderick (Jaylin Dickerson, Jahmar Brown)
FS — Jaylan Foster (Tyrese Ross)
CB — Darius Rush (Marcellas Dial)
PK — Parker White (Mitch Jeter)
KO — Parker White —OR— Mitch Jeter —OR— Alex Herrera
P — Kai Kroeger (Alex Herrera)
LS — Matthew Bailey (Hunter Rogers)
H — Kai Kroger (Alex Herrera)
KOR — Dakereon Joyner (Juju McDowell)
PR — Josh Vann (Ahmarean Brown)