Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Georgia at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Kns Tennessee Georgia Football

Tennessee can notch winning season by beating Vandy

With bowl eligibility in its pocket after notching its sixth win last week, Tennessee now shoots for a winning season.

When the Volunteers host Vanderbilt on Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn., they have a chance to close their season with a 7-5 record and a 4-4 mark in the Southeastern Conference. That would, by all accounts, make Josh Heupel’s first season as coach in Knoxville a resounding success.

While Tennessee isn’t quite at the level of No. 1 Georgia or No. 2 Alabama, it’s at least made up more than its share of ground on the next tier of the SEC. A year ago, when the Volunteers went 3-7 and coach Jeremy Pruitt paid for it with his job, it seemed like this program was doomed to perpetual mediocrity.

Heupel and his coaching staff, which turned Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker from a serviceable quarterback to one of the most efficient players in the country, have accelerated the timetable.

“From the moment I got here, I never placed a ceiling on what this football team could do,” Heupel said. “We’re in a race against ourselves. I’m so proud of the growth from the first day that I got here to who we are now.”

Hooker has completed 70 percent of his passes for 2,411 yards and 24 touchdowns, with just three interceptions, while adding 485 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He threw for 273 yards and two scores last week in a 60-14 rout of South Alabama.

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt (2-9, 0-7) and its first-year coach, Clark Lea, are merely hoping to pull an upset that would give them momentum going into the offseason. The Commodores lost 31-17 last week at Ole Miss.

To threaten Tennessee, Vanderbilt has to score touchdowns instead of field goals. It gained a season-high 454 yards last week but couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone until it trailed 31-9 in the fourth quarter.

“We’ll need to be a game-control offense that finishes with touchdowns,” Lea said.

The Volunteers own a 77-33-5 record in the series, including a 42-17 win last December in Nashville.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) makes a pass against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Ole Miss tops Vanderbilt to finish 7-0 at home

Matt Corral passed for 326 yards and two scores to lead No. 12 Ole Miss to a 31-17 win over Vanderbilt, wrapping up the Rebels’ home schedule in Oxford, Miss.

Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) needed help from Arkansas earlier in the day to stay alive in the SEC West race, but Alabama defeated the Razorbacks 42-35 to earn a spot in the conference title game in Atlanta.

That did not deter Corral — projected to be a high first-round NFL Draft selection — in his final home start.

The Ventura, Calif., native finished 27 of 36 with an interception — just his third overall. He also rushed for 29 yards on seven carries.

The Rebels’ Jerrion Ealy carried nine times for 55 yards with a rushing and receiving touchdown, and Henry Parrish Jr. ran for a score. Dontario Drummond caught seven passes for 81 yards and a TD.

Ole Miss posted a 7-0 mark at home — its first undefeated season in Oxford since 1992.

The Commodores (2-9, 0-7) never led and lost for the sixth straight time.

Mike Wright started at quarterback and went 22 of 44 for 241 yards with an interception. He added 61 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Rocko Griffin rushed 26 times for 117 yards with a score and Chris Pierce totaled 113 yards on 10 catches for Vanderbilt, which has dropped 20 consecutive SEC contests.

In a great start for its offense, Ole Miss traveled 65 yards on just five plays in 67 seconds. Corral capped the drive with an 8-yard toss to Ealy for a 7-0 lead.

After forcing a Vanderbilt punt, the home team went 57 yards, eventually settling for Caden Costa’s 28-yard boot to make it 10-0 at 10:18.

Following a 49-yard field goal by Joseph Bulovas, Corral added on by working a run-pass option that led to a flip to Drummond, who tight-roped down the sideline and into the end zone from 10 yards out for 17-3 lead at 12:51 of the second.

Bulovas booted two more true kicks — 33 and 41 yards — sandwiched around Ealy’s 4-yard scoring run as the Rebels owned a 24-9 halftime edge.

Following a scoreless third that saw Ole Miss post just three first downs, Parrish and Griffin traded TDs on the ground to finish the scoring.

Deantre Prince made an incredible, toe-tapping interception of Wright at the Ole Miss 3 to ice the victory.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Texas A&M Aggies running back Devon Achane (6) runs the ball against Mississippi Rebels defensive back Otis Reese (3) during the third quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Ole Miss hopes to impose defensive will against Vanderbilt

Ole Miss has made its name on offense, but on Saturday the Rebels looked more like the dominant defensive team they would like to see across from them in Atlanta next month — No. 1 Georgia.

The No. 12 Rebels will try to bring the same shutdown defense they used in a 29-19 win over Texas A&M last weekend when they host Vanderbilt on Saturday night in their final home game of the season in Oxford, Miss.

With two more Southeastern Conference games left — they finish at rival Mississippi State –the Rebels’ only chance to get the SEC Championship Game is if their neighbors in Tuscaloosa stumble twice.

Alabama closes with Saturday’s home game against Arkansas and at rival Auburn, with the No. 2 Crimson Tide having a slim likelihood of losing twice.

But if Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2) is victorious in its last two and puts together its best regular season since 2015, the chances are still good coach Lane Kiffin’s squad will play in a New Year’s Six contest.

The Rebels’ yeoman effort against the then-No. 11 Aggies was undeniably impressive: They kept the visitors off the board for the first 34:57 of the game.

With the Aggies staging a fourth-quarter rally, the secondary snagged two interceptions of Zach Calzada: Ashanti Cistrunk’s to set up a score and AJ Finley’s 52-yard pick-six that chalked the game up in the win column.

“I wouldn’t really say it was a schematic thing because we’ve been doing the same things defensively, but I think we came together and got closer,” Finley said. “We took it kind of personally to improve our defense as a whole.”

Ole Miss ran 93 plays to the Aggies’ 70 and outgained them 504-378 in yardage, with the first half being extremely one-sided.

Sam Williams has set a school record with 10.5 sacks on Ole Miss’ three-man defensive front — at least one in eight of the 10 games played.

“I don’t think there’s a defensive lineman that has played as many snaps as him in the country,” Kiffin said. “It has been unbelievable. He has games in the 60s and 70s. He’s been a warrior for us.”

Kicker Caden Costa, who has made 13 of 16 field goal attempts, including all eight inside 40 yards, was named SEC Freshman of the Week after drilling two against the Aggies.

Mired in the SEC East’s basement under first-year head coach Clark Lea, Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6) has lost five straight — all conference games — and has not won since a last-second field goal by Joseph Bulovas beat UConn 30-28 on Oct. 2.

The Commodores fell behind by four touchdowns in the first half against Kentucky, eventually losing 34-17, last Saturday.

Against the Wildcats’ defense, Ken Seals struggled — completing 12 of 17 passes for just 87 yards and tossing one interception.

Seals, who missed the three previous games with an injured finger, was replaced by Mike Wright to start the second half.

Wright completed all but four of his 11 passes. He tossed a pair of 8-yard scoring TDs to Chris Pierce Jr. and Amir Abdur-Rahman.

“Ken got hurt in the first half. We’ve got to get a feel for the extent of the injury,” Lea said. “I don’t feel it necessary right now to project who will be starting next week.”

Ole Miss is 53-36-2 all-time against the Commodores, who have dropped 19 consecutive SEC games and two straight in this series, which includes a 54-21 loss in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr., (24) powers into the end zone for a touchdown past Vanderbilt linebacker Ethan Barr (32) during the second quarter at Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

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Kentucky rushes past Vanderbilt with dominant first half

Scoring three touchdowns inside the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, Kentucky raced to a 31-3 halftime lead and coasted to a 34-17 Southeastern Conference win over Vanderbilt on Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn.

The Wildcats improved to 7-3 overall and finished conference play at 5-3. They snapped a three-game losing streak in stress-free fashion, getting 114 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries from Chris Rodriguez. He passed the 1,000-yard mark for the year.

Quarterback Will Levis was efficient, completing 14 of 22 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The pick occurred on the last play of the first half on a long pass into the end zone.

Kentucky initiated scoring with 6:07 left in the first quarter as Levis hit Wan’Dale Robinson with a 6-yard touchdown pass, capping an 85-yard scoring drive that lasted more than 5 1/2 minutes.

Vanderbilt got on the board on a 48-yard field goal by Joseph Bulovas with 44 seconds left in the period, but the Wildcats wasted little time answering. On the first play of the second quarter, Levis connected with Izaiah Cummings on a 22-yard scoring strike.

Less than two minutes later, safety Jalen Geiger upped Kentucky’s lead to 21-3 when he intercepted Ken Seals and took it 31 yards for a touchdown. Rodriguez made it 28-3 with 10:43 left in the half on a 5-yard scoring jaunt.

Matt Ruffolo capped the first half outburst when he nailed a 25-yard field goal with 3:46 showing in the half, allowing the Wildcats to take a 28-point cushion to intermission.

The Commodores (2-8, 0-6) made it look more respectable in the second half when backup quarterback Michael Wright piloted two long touchdown drives.
Wright found Casey Pierce for an 8-yard scoring strike with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter, then added an 8-yard touchdown pass to Amir Abdur-Rahman at the 7:33 mark of the fourth quarter to finish the scoring.

Wright finished 7 of 11 for 58 yards, while starter Ken Seals hit 12 of 17 attempts for 87 yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (22) runs the ball down the field during the fourth quarter against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Kroger Field. Rodriguez Jr. wore jersey number 22 in honor of his teammate linebacker Chris Oats, who had a major emergency medical condition this past summer. Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky not dwelling on skid, focused on Vandy

A three-game losing streak has knocked Kentucky out of the Top 25, but the Wildcats have a good chance to finish the regular season on a positive note.

They finish Southeastern Conference play Saturday night in Nashville against Vanderbilt, followed by nonconference games against New Mexico State and Louisville in which they’ll be favored. A 9-3 record could still land Kentucky in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

“As far as team morale and where we’re at, I’m very optimistic,” said Wildcats coach Mark Stoops. “I know our team, I know our leaders, I’ve seen a lot of them, I talked to a lot of them after the game.”

The game Stoops referred to was last week’s 45-42 home loss to Tennessee. Despite controlling the ball for just over 46 minutes and rolling up 612 total yards, Kentucky (6-3, 4-3 SEC) wasn’t able to convert its absurd time of possession advantage into a win.

Stoops has been playing the role of positive thinker when asked about his squad.

“I can promise you, there’s a lot of guys in that building that are motivated to move on and try to go get the next victory,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Commodores (2-7, 0-5) are coming off an open date that has left them as refreshed as an SEC team can be nine games into a 12-game season. They have lost four straight games, including a 37-28 decision at home Oct. 30 against Missouri.

First-year coach Clark Lea could welcome back some important pieces this week. Quarterback Ken Seals, running back Rocko Griffin and linebacker De’Rickey Wright are on track to return after missing the loss to Missouri.

“Hopefully, the time off gives us a chance to launch here at the finish of the season,” Lea said. “We’re battling what every team is battling and that’s the accumulation of the grind and it’s a physical grind, a mental grind. But I’m excited to watch this team through to the finish.”

This will be the 94th meeting between the SEC East Division rivals. The Wildcats own a 47-42-4 advantage, bolstered by five consecutive victories.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Mike Wright (5) attempts a pass during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Badie’s 294-yard day pushes Missouri past Vanderbilt

Tyler Badie piled up 294 total yards and scored two touchdowns as the Missouri Tigers outlasted the Vanderbilt Commodores 37-28 in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday.

The Tigers (4-4 overall, 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference) snapped their five-game conference losing streak. The Commodores (2-7, 0-5) lost their 18th straight SEC game.

Badie rushed 31 times for 254 yards and caught eight passes for 40 yards. Harrison Mevis kicked field goals of 46, 32 and 52 yards for Missouri to run his streak to 19 consecutive made field goals.

Tigers quarterback Connor Bazelak completed 22 of 28 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown before suffering an injury with 6:47 left to play.

After rushing for just 9 yards last week against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt gained 258 yards on the ground.

Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright rushed for 152 yards and completed 14-of-28 passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Patrick Smith rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown

Missouri broke out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead, scoring with Mevis’ 46-yard field goal and Badie’s 13-yard touchdown run.

The Tigers had a chance to expand that lead after blocking a Commodores punt and recovering it at the Vanderbilt 15-yard line.

But the momentum shifted when Max Worship intercepted Bazelak’s pass at the 2-yard line with 4:40 left in the first quarter. Two plays later Wright ran 69 yards up the right sideline to set up his 7-yard touchdown pass to Cam Johnson.

Vanderbilt moved ahead 14-10 with a 13-play, 84-yard touchdown drive capped by Smith’s 10-yard scoring run.

After the Commodores failed to convert a fake field goal attempt with 15 seconds left in the first half, the Tigers took a 17-14 lead with Bazelak’s 45-yard “Hail Mary” touchdown pass to Keke Chism as time expired.

Missouri expanded its lead to 24-14 in the third period with a seven-play, 59-yard touchdown drive capped by Badie’s 15-yard run.

The Commodores quickly cut the lead to 24-21. Wright’s 70-yard run set up his 4-yard touchdown shovel pass to Gavin Schoenwald.

Mevis’ 32-yard field goal to open the fourth quarter pushed Missouri’s lead to 27-21, then his 52-yarder made it 30-21.

The Commodores cut the lead to 30-28 with Wright’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Johnson. But Badie responded with a 73-yard run to set up the game-clinching 2-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Tyler Macon.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers running back Tyler Badie (1) scores a touchdown against the North Texas Mean Green during the game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt, Missouri duel for first SEC victory of season

The Vanderbilt Commodores and Missouri Tigers will battle for their first Southeastern Conference victory of the season Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.

The Commodores (2-6 overall, 0-4 in the SEC) are coming off a rough 45-6 loss at home to Mississippi State. That was their 17th consecutive defeat in conference play.

“Certainly it’s difficult sometimes when you’re building something that’s aiming toward sustained success and long-term success. The challenge of the short-term judgment is what it is,” first-year Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea said. “We have to get ourselves back up, we have to stay together and we’ve gotta keep fighting. This group will do that.”

The Tigers (3-4, 0-3) had a bye week to prepare for this game after falling to Texas A&M 35-14 on Oct. 16. They have lost their first three conference games for the first time since 2018.

Missouri’s last two losses have come by the combined score of 97-38.

“I haven’t had my butt whipped like that before,” second-year Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “Figuring out what is that combination, why is that, what is my ownership of that, how do I fix it? At the end of the day the ownership lies with me, so I’ve got to continue to find ways to take lessons from losses.”

This game matches Vanderbilt’s struggling run offense against Missouri’s vulnerable run defense.

The Commodores rushed for just nine yards on 17 carries against Mississippi State while the Tigers yielded 283 yards on 42 runs to Texas A&M.

Vanderbilt ranks 121st in the FBS with 99.8 yards rushing per game. Missouri ranks 129th in rushing defense with 286.6 rushing yards allowed per game.

Commodores quarterback Ken Seals passed for 1,086 yards and five touchdowns before suffering a finger injury on Oct. 9. On Tuesday Lea said Seals remained “week to week” in his recovery and that he will be evaluated in practice this week.

Mike Wright (423 yards, two touchdowns passing) has started in his place. Lea said Wright will remain the starter “until Ken shows us he can perform.”

The Tigers are fighting to overcome self-inflicted wounds — turnovers and penalties. Quarterback Connor Bazelak has thrown five interceptions in SEC play and Missouri is being penalized 62.4 yards per league game.

“Turnovers have played a big issue in not providing good field position for our defense,” Drinkwitz said. “I think that’s been key. And then penalties on drives. We’ve had multiple penalties on our first drives in the two SEC games that have derailed drives and/or led to turnovers. And those cannot happen.”

On the plus side for the Tigers, running back Tyler Badie has rushed for 735 yards and nine touchdowns. He has 32 receptions for 265 yards and four TDs.

On the injury front, Missouri guard Case Cook, defensive end Chris Turner and special teamer Mason Pack will miss the rest of the season.

“We have who we have, and we have to continue to improve on our techniques and our fundamentals,” Drinkwitz said.

–Field Level Media

Mississippi State wide receiver Lideatrick Griffin (5) is brought down by Vanderbilt defenders during the first quarter at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.

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Miss. St. gains 524 yards in rout of Vandy

Will Rogers threw a career-high four touchdown passes as visiting Mississippi State routed Vanderbilt 45-6 in an SEC game Saturday.

Rogers completed 42 of 58 passes for 386 yards for the Bulldogs (4-3, 2-2 SEC), who bounced back from a blowout loss to Alabama last week. Rogers connected with a season-best 13 receivers and easily overcame two interceptions.

MSU has won the last five meetings with the Commodores by a combined score of 152-40.

Mike Wright, making his second consecutive start at quarterback in place of injured Ken Seals, completed 12 of 17 for 122 yards with an interception for Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-4) lost its 17th consecutive SEC game.

MSU outgained the Commodores 524-155 and had 29 first downs to just five for Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs possessed the ball for 39 minutes.

One of Rogers’ few mistakes came when he threw an interception on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the third quarter. That led to Joseph Bulovas’ 41-yard field goal that trimmed MSU’s lead to 24-6.

Rogers rebounded with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Malik Heath that gave the Bulldogs a 31-6 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Jo’quavious Marks’ 5-yard run produced MSU’s only touchdown that didn’t come on a pass, pushing the lead to 38-6 early in the fourth quarter.

Chance Lovertich replaced Rogers late in the fourth quarter and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Rara Thomas with 51 seconds left.

MSU drove to a 9-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Makai Polk on the first possession of the game.

Brandon Ruiz added a 36-yard field goal that increased the lead to 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Bulovas kicked a 27-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to pull Vanderbilt within 10-3.

Rogers and Polk combined on a 31-yard touchdown pass that gave the Bulldogs a 17-3 lead.

On third-and-goal, Rogers threw a six-yard touchdown to Rufus Harvey for a 24-3 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Mike Wright (5) attempts a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt, Mississippi State meet in clash of improving teams

Coaches of Mississippi State and Vanderbilt said they believe the play of their teams is improving. And both teams hope to take another step in the process when they meet Saturday in a Southeastern Conference game in Nashville, Tenn.

Proof of improvements for Mississippi State: The Bulldogs (3-3, 1-2 SEC) are the only team other than No. 1 Georgia to have multiple wins against teams in the current AP Top 25. They have defeated No. 18 North Carolina State and No. 17 Texas A&M.

“I’m pleased we have improved at times,” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said, “but we have to accelerate that process and do it more.”

The Bulldogs were reminded of how much growth remains for them to become an SEC contender when they were routed by then-No. 5 Alabama 49-9 at home last week.

“It’s easy to say that Alabama is really good, and that is true,” Leach said. “But my problem is we didn’t play as well as we can and that has to be solved.”

Mississippi State is a good measuring stick for the Commodores in coach Clark Lea’s first season. Vanderbilt has lost the past four meetings with the Bulldogs by a combined score of 107-34.

The Commodores (2-5, 0-3) were on the verge of ending a 15-game SEC losing streak last Saturday. Joseph Bulovas kicked a 28-yard field goal to extend their lead over host South Carolina to 20-14 with 1:36 left.

But quarterback Zeb Noland came off the Gamecocks bench to direct a 75-yard drive, throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Legette with 37 seconds remaining to give South Carolina a 21-20 victory.

“We certainly aren’t looking at this in terms of the accumulation of previous years’ games,” Lea said. “This is about Team 1. This is about what we’re doing this season.”

Quarterback Mike Wright made his first start for Vanderbilt in place of injured Ken Seals, whom Lea said is week-to-week with a finger injury. Wright will start again Saturday.

“I thought we were more explosive, which is something that had kind of held us back in the past,” Lea said.

Vanderbilt had a fourth-down stop in the red zone and made two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

“Our issue is stringing together a consistent performance,” Lea said. “We’re a program that feeds off competition and that wants to win. We are a work in progress and we are becoming the program we know we can become.”

–Field Level Media

South Carolina quarterback Luke Doty (4) runs the ball down the field during an NCAA college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the South Carolina Gamecocks in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.

Kns Tennessee South Carolina Football

South Carolina, Vanderbilt still looking for first SEC win

Either South Carolina or Vanderbilt will get a much-desired first Southeastern Conference victory for its first-year coach when the teams meet Saturday in Columbia, S.C.

The Gamecocks (3-3, 0-3 SEC), under rookie coach Shane Beamer, will be seeking a 13th straight victory in the series. South Carolina is coming off a 45-20 defeat at Tennessee.

The Commodores (2-4, 0-2) lost 42-0 at Florida last week. Clark Lea is in his first year as coach after three years as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator.

Lea said his team and South Carolina aren’t necessarily similar just because of their records and rookie coaches.

“Every program’s different and every program is positioned differently, and different players and different situations,” Lea said. “I don’t think you can draw a lot of comparison that way. It’s two teams that are going to be fighting for a win on Saturday.”

During their weekly press conferences, the coaches both stressed optimism and the need to continue to improve.

“When you win in this league, things are certainly magnified and you’re great,” Beamer said. “When you lose in this league, things are obviously magnified and you’re not so great.”

One glaring weakness the Gamecocks hope to improve is the running game, which is compiling 124.5 yards per game. Since gaining 254 yards in a 46-0 season-opening win against Eastern Illinois, South Carolina hasn’t rushed for more than the 153 in last week’s loss at Tennessee.

Quarterback Luke Doty has led the offense since replacing Zeb Noland during the Week 3 loss at Georgia. Doty has completed 69 of 116 with three touchdowns and one interception.

“I’m not happy where we are — nobody is,” said Beamer, son of former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. “But the group I was excited about coming into the season, we still are. They’re still there.”

Despite being shut out at Florida last week, Vanderbilt chalked up a few positives. Namely, the Commodores ran 80 plays offensively and were 8 of 20 on third down.

“We were good in spurts, but obviously good in spurts in this conference sets you up for a disappointing result,” said Lea, whose team is being outgained about 453 to 311.

South Carolina leads the series 26-4. The Gamecocks will be trying to capture their 100th win in the SEC, as they enter 99-137-1 for 30 years in the conference.

–Field Level Media