An early look at South Carolina's season-opening opponent, Vanderbilt. This is the first in a series looking at each of South Carolina's eight SEC opponent. Coming Tuesday: Missouri.
... Last year's record: 6-7, 2-6 SEC
... Bowl game last season: Lost to Cincinnati 31-24 in Liberty Bowl
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... Head coach: James Franklin 6-7, one year (6-7 career record)
... Series record: USC leads 17-4
... Game vs. USC: Thursday, Aug. 30, in Nashville, Tenn.
... Coaches All-SEC selections: RB Zac Stacy (2nd team), DL Rob Lohr (3rd team)
Key Vanderbilt players
... Jordan Rodgers, QB: The Commodores seem to be a team on the rise in the SEC. Much of the credit can go to Jordan Rodgers, who infused life into the offense after taking over for injured starter Larry Smith. He accumulated almost 2,000 yards of total offense and was the second leading rusher.
... Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt: He rushed for a single-season school record 1,193 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He’ll be backed up by freshman Brian Kimbrow, the top prospect in Tennessee.
... Since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992, the Gamecocks are 17-4 against the Commodores. USC has won the past three meetings by limiting Vanderbilt to 20 points. While the Vandy talentlevel has improved, the Gamecocks’ defense seems to have the Commodores number. They held Vanderbilt to 77 yards in last year's 21-3 victory. USC will want to make a splash in thenationally televised, season-opening game.
... Coach James Franklin has brought new confidence to Vanderbilt. In his first year, Vandy lost to Cincinnati in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl to finish 6-7. But that was the second-most wins by the Commodores since 1982. They lost four SEC games by less than a touchdown and took SEC East champion Georgia to the final play. Vandy will be looking to knock off a team that should garner top 10 preseason consideration.