South Carolina Gamecocks at Vanderbilt Commodores
Thursday, September 1, 2016, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee
Opening Line: Vanderbilt -2 1/2
Current Line: Vanderbilt -4
Opening Total: 46 1/2
Current Total: 42
Opening Money Line: Vanderbilt -175 / South Carolina +155
Current Money Line: Vanderbilt -185 / South Carolina +165
The South Carolina Gamecocks travel to the Vanderbilt Commodores Thursday night in the SEC and regular season opener for both teams. South Carolina has dominated the series 21-4, including 11-2 in Nashville. The Gamecocks have won seven straight games in the series including 19-10 last year in Columbia.
Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons last year. Vanderbilt was 4-8 and 2-6 in the SEC East under coach Derek Mason. South Carolina was 3-9 and 1-7 in conference. Steve Spurrier retired midway through the season. South Carolina hired former Florida coach Will Muschamp as the new coach.
The Gamecocks struggled on offense last year averaging 362 yards per game including 208 passing yards and 22 points per game. They allowed 430 yards per game on defense including 217 rushing yards and 28 points per game. South Carolina was +5 in turnovers and forced 20 turnovers. The Gamecocks averaged 39 penalty yards per game. South Carolina was 69/184 on first and third down conversions and opponents were 88/183. The Gamecocks were 31/36 scoring in the red zone with 17 touchdowns and opponents were 38/46 with 30 touchdowns.
Quarterback Perry Orth won a competition among five other guys. He threw for 1,929 yards with 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, and rushed for 138 carries and 2 touchdowns. He had a broken collarbone in the offseason but is healthy now. Rico McWilliams and true freshman Jake Bentley could also get some snaps.
Redshirt freshman A.J. Turner and David Williams will likely split the carries at running back. Deebo Samuel looks to take over as the go-to receiver. Tight ends Hayden Hurst and Kevin Crosby could also be dangerous weapons.
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Vanderbilt averaged 327 yards per game on offense including 172 passing yards per game and 15 points per game. Opponents averaged 351 yards per game on offense including 143 rushing yards and 21 points per game. Vanderbilt was -8 in turnovers and forced 17 turnovers last year. The Commodores averaged 47 penalty yards per game. Vanderbilt was 83/222 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 53/191. Vanderbilt was 21/33 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns and opponents were 35/49 with 19 touchdowns.
Kyle Shurmur will be the full time starter at quarterback after taking over late in the season last year. He threw for 503 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Johnny McCrary started most of last season but has transferred to Mercer.
Ralph Webb is one of the top running backs in the SEC. He rushed for 1,152 yards with five touchdowns, and had 24 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. Top receiver Trent Sherfield is back after making 51 catches for 659 yards and 3 touchdowns.
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South Carolina is 5-2 ATS in Thursday games, 3-8 in September, and 2-6 on fieldturf. The under is 6-2-1 in this series recently.
Vanderbilt 5-1 ATS in September, 6-2 on fieldturf, 5-2 in Thursday games and in home games, and 13-6 in SEC games. The home team 4-1 ATS in this series recently.
Vanderbilt had a dominating defense last year but the offense was anemic. South Carolina struggled on both sides of the ball. I think this game goes under the total and I like the Commodores to win at home on a late field goal.