South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt: Gamecocks can’t afford letdown at lowly Vandy


So with the South Carolina Gamecocks headed on the road to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores, and the Gamecocks ranked in the polls and the Commodores struggling, this should be a walk in the park for Carolina, right?

The stats and the odds say so, but I have a feeling that the coaching staff is approaching this one with the same intensity as they would with a team that’s higher on the food chain.

That’s not to say Vandy hasn’t struggled. They got clobbered, 37-7, by Temple (Temple?) at home to kick off the season, followed by a 41-3 drubbing by Ole Miss at LP Field. They barely got past UMass last week, 34-31.

Deep down, the Gamecocks know that this one is a game they should win and win easily. Although their defense has struggled, they’re still a few steps above the Commodores in that department, as well as every other category. They’re coming off an emotional win against Georgia. They have a quarterback in Dylan Thompson that’s appearing to gain confidence and two highly capable running backs in Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds. This is a contest that a legitimate SEC East contender should have no business losing.

But the fact that they know that they should win shouldn’t show in the way they come into this one prepared. They still have to make the catches, pick up the yards, and score more points than the other team. Even though the numbers on the stat sheet are skewed in the Gamecocks’ favor, games aren’t won on the stat sheet.

Carolina’s goal: don’t look past Vanderbilt, but just play the game well and let the rest take care of itself. Because this is a road opener they simply can’t afford to let slip away by any means.