The Vanderbilt Commodores visited the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks hoping to put some of their off-field issues under wraps. The big question was, could they perform as a strong team with all the speculation and allegations surrounding a “gang-rape” in a Vanderbilt dorm-room involving several Vanderbilt players including Brandon Vandenburg, Cory Batey, Brandon Eric Banks and Jaborian McKenzie. Wide receiver Chris Boyd pled guilty in order to avoid a felony change of accessory after the fact. He was out for the game, but it is still unclear if Boyd will play the rest of the season. Head Coach James Franklin continuously said prior to the game, “I can’t talk about anything other than the South Carolina game.”
Unfortunately for Vandy, Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks seemed to put away the game early. In fact, the Gamecocks scored on its first four possessions to lead 28-0.
That lead continued to 35-10 after the first possession of the second half, with Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw threw a 33-yarder to Brandon Wilds. Vandy finally stepped into gear and were able to capitalize on fumbles on a kickoff and punt by South Carolina. Vanderbilt went on to score twice in 13 seconds to make the score 35-25. The Commodores were trying to pull off a comeback upset, but fell just short after throwing a goal-line interception.
Vanderbilt’s shining star wide receiver Jordan Matthews had another game over 100 yards receiving, with 108 yards, his third consecutive game reaching that mark. Quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels made it evident that he wasn’t going to back down from Matthews despite several double teams. Carta-Samuels made sure to stay away from the Gamecock’s biggest threat and talent, Jadeveon Clowney.
Vanderbilt looked like two completely different teams throughout the game. In the first half, they were only able to gain 95 total yards, while things picked up later on in the game. Although Vanderbilt lost, they proved that they were a strong opponent. They kept the Gamecocks on their heels till the final seconds.
If Vanderbilt continues to play football like their second half, they may be able to win some big games down the road.