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What We Learned: South Carolina vs Vanderbilt

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South Carolina seems to be back on track after rolling Vanderbilt. Let’s check out what we learned from yesterday’s victory.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks took care of business yesterday as they smacked the Vanderbilt Commodores around in their own house. Derek Mason wanted a street fight and he got a massacre as the Gamecocks could’ve easily hung 50 points on Vandy if it wasn’t for a bunch of sloppy turnovers after the lightning delay. But anyways, let’s talk about what we learned.

Javon “Galactus” Kinlaw is a beast: Okay, well, we already knew that. But statistically Javon had a bit of a slow start to the year. But yesterday he showed up and was camped out in the Vanderbilt backfield all afternoon. Kinlaw finished with 5 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 QB hurries and 1 pass deflection. The guy was all over the place. Fortunately he was healthy after getting tackled from behind by a Vandy offensive lineman because that’s the only way they could stop him. They weren’t capable of blocking him straight up, so they had to resort to tackling him to the ground. Anyways, Kinlaw was a monster yesterday and we will need a similar performance next week to slow down Benny Snell and the Kentucky Wildcats rushing attack.

When balanced, the offense can be great: I know it might be easy for people to say, “yea, we were good \on offense but it doesn’t mean anything...it’s just Vanderbilt.” Well, if you are one of those people, let me stop you right there. Vanderbilt and Derek Mason field a solid defense. Mason is one of the better defensive minds in football and Vandy, before yesterday, had not given up more than 380 yards and 22 points in a game. Also, the South Carolina Gamecocks offense has had their fair share of struggles against far worse defenses in recent years, so I’ll take 534 total yards with 273 rushing yards against anybody. Anyways, it was just a solid performance all around. Bryan McClendon had a fantastic gameplan, Jake Bentley made a bunch of throws and did enough in the read option game to keep Vandy honest, Rico Dowdle was amazing and the list goes on and on. Oh, and can we talk about how we finally targeted Shi Smith down the field? The guy is a playmaker, keep giving him the ball. Also, spreading the wealth will free up more opportunities up for Deebo Samuel. If the offense can move the ball like this consistently Carolina will win a bunch of ball games this year. Let’s hope McClendon and company have learned from the UGA debacle and we see more of this kind of performance going forward.

Motivation: I think the coaching staff struck the right chord this week with Derek Mason’s “street fight” comments. Personally, I didn’t think it was meant in a disrespectful way, but I’m not going to argue with the result of yesterday’s matchup either. Just check out some of the comments made by Carolina players and you’ll see how the Gamecocks took Mason’s comments personally. It was good to see our guys come out with a little extra juice and blow out a conference opponent on the road. We’ll see if Muschamp and his staff can get them just as fired up next week as Kentucky will be a much stiffer challenge.

As always, there’s a bunch of other stuff I could touch on. So what did y’all learn from yesterday’s game?