Matched against the rainy weather, a slew of missing Commodores and the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Vanderbilt Commodores never really stood a chance on Saturday in a 41-7 beating at the hands of the visitors from Columbia.
The Commodores entered Saturday's game with just 56 scholarship players at their disposal- league rules require a minimum of 53- with three starting defensive backs, Donovan Kaufman, Randal Haynie, and Deshawn Jerkins, among others missing from the game.
The Commodores battled and kept themselves within range until the third quarter when Carolina pulled away and costed home to their first win of the season.
Offensively the Gamecocks pounded the running game over, around, and through the Commodores defense, rolling up 289 yards on 39 attempts for an average of 7.4 yards per carry. That total is somewhat surprising considering the Commodore's run defense had been solid through the first two weeks of the season.
Carolina quarterback Collin Hill wasn't spectacular but was more than adequate throwing the football in less than ideal condition. On the day, Hill completed 16 of 24 attempts for 196 yards. He did not throw a touchdown pass but also had no interceptions. He managed to make critical throws when necessary to move the chains and help offset the devastating ground attack.
Vanderbilt freshman quarterback Ken Seals was efficient and showed an improvement, as he completed 18 of 27 passes for 173 yards and one touchdown. He also gave up his fifth interception of the season, though this was the first game in which he was not intercepted multiple times.
The return of Keyon Henry-Brooks to the Commodores lineup proved beneficial as the sophomore running back led the team with 13 carries for 75 yards-both states were team-leading- and an average of 5.5 yards per attempt on the day.
Tighe end Ben Bresnahan, who is fast becoming a favorite target for Seals, led Vanderbilt in receptions with five for 38 yards while Cam Johnson led in yards with 43 on four receptions. Johnson also snagged the only score of the game on a 22-yard scoring strike from Seals.
While the Gamecocks ground game riddled the Commodores defense, they did manage to impact Hill and the Carolina passing game, sacking the Gamecocks signal caller twice and hitting him seven more times with Dayo Odeyingbo being credited with 1.5 sacks and three of those hits.
The Commodores return to action next Saturday as they visit Missouri to face the Tigers who will enter that contest fresh off an upset win over LSU on Saturday at home.