Game Day Preview: What you need to know about South Carolina-Vanderbilt
South Carolina will host Vanderbilt aiming to snap a string of four consecutive SEC losses. Oh, and by the way, it’s the first time in about a decade Steve Spurrier will not be patrolling the sidelines at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Here’s some information you need to get ready for game day:
Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-3) at South Carolina (2-4, 0-4)
Kickoff: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Weather: 62 degrees, 0 percent chain of rain, 9 mph winds
Line: South Carolina -2.5
Series record: South Carolina 20-4
By The Numbers
6 — South Carolina has won each of its last six tilts against Vanderbilt. Three of those victories have come at Williams-Brice Stadium. The last two games have been offensive shootouts. The Gamecocks won, 35-25, back in 2013 at home, then defeated Vandy, 48-34, in Nashville last year.
8 — Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb ranks eighth in rushing in the SEC this season. Webb earned praise from South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott, who said Vandy’s running back is one of the best in the SEC. Webb has racked up 437 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Storylines to watch
How will Elliott fare in his head-coaching debut?
When Spurrier resigned, he indicated the South Carolina football team needed to hear a new voice. That voice comes in the form of Elliott, who has tried to inject some energy into the Gamecocks throughout practice this week. The question now is whether the players will respond to the new coach on the sidelines. South Carolina can either buck the trend of four straight SEC losses or continue to let the losses pile up. How they play in Elliott’s debut will say a lot about how this team views their coach.
Will Connor Mitch or Lorenzo Nunez spell Orth?
Both Mitch and Nunez returned to practice this week. Mitch has been out since the second week of the season, while Nunez has been limited. Orth is making his second consecutive start after posting career-best numbers against LSU last week. However, with Mitch available, Elliott could turn to Mitch if the game begins to get away from Orth. He could also look in the direction of Nunez, if he believes the true freshman quarterback is healthy enough to play.
Matchup to watch: Perry Orth vs. the Vanderbilt defense
South Carolina is averaging 20.7 points per game, which is second-worst in the SEC. Conversely, the Vanderbilt defense ranks fifth in the SEC and 26th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 18.4 points per game. Orth orchestrated the South Carolina offense effectively last week against LSU, but there could be some new twists in store with a new coach. South Carolina is expected to have running back Brandon Wilds back in the fold after missing last week’s contest with a rib injury. The addition of Wilds along with Orth and Pharoh Cooper gives the Gamecocks an added dimension as they try to exploit a stout Commodores defense.
My prediction: South Carolina 20, Vanderbilt 19