OPPONENT: Vanderbilt Commodores
WHEN: Saturday, November 2nd
WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC)
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: South Carolina leads 24-4
LAST MEETING: Carolina beat Vandy 37-14 in Nashville, TN
2018 RECORD: 6-7 (3-5)
Mason returns for his sixth year in Nashville, amassing a 24-38 overall record in that timespan.
His greatest achievement arguably has been leading the Dores to three straight wins over arch-rival Tennessee, something that hadn’t been done since the 1920’s.
2019 should serve as a big year for Mason, as he continues to fend off naysayers who say Vanderbilt should move in a different direction in regards to its head coach.
Still, for Vanderbilt, his success is unprecedented, taking the Dores to a bowl game in two of the last three seasons.
- WR Kalijia Lipscomb (Sr.)
- WR C.J. Bolar (So.)
- WR Chris Pierce (Jr.)
- LT Devin Cochran (Jr.)
- LG Cole Clemens (Jr.)
- TE Jared Pinkney (Sr.)
- RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Sr.)
- DL Dayo Deyingbo (Jr.)
- DL Drew Birchmeier (Jr.)
- ILB Dimitri Moore (So.)
- S Frank Coppet (Jr.)
How did they fare in 2018?
Overall, it was a successful year in Nashville a year ago, as the Dores finished the regular season at .500 and a trip to the Texas Bowl against Baylor.
However, Vandy didn’t record a win over a Power Five opponent until October 27th, a 45-31 win over Arkansas.
The Dores did close out the season with back to back regular season wins, beating Ole Miss 36-29 in OT and taking down Tennessee 38-13.
The season came to a bitter end as Baylor edged out Vandy 45-38 in the Texas Bowl.
Best Returning Player…
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn
With the departure of all-time passing leader Kyle Shurmur, the majority of the offensive production should fall squarely on the shoulders of Vaughn.
He was electric in 2018, rushing for 1,244 yards and 12 TD for the Dores.
His explosiveness really jumps off the screen, as he averaged 7.9 YPC and showed a burst at the second level.
A home run threat every time he touches the ball, Vaughn leads a group of Vanderbilt skill position players that are some of the best to come through Nashville in quite some time.
The key to beating Vandy will be simple: find a way to slow down Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
Much easier said than done.
Crazy to think it has been ten straight years, huh?
While the Gamecocks have had struggles here and there against different teams throughout the SEC, Carolina has simply had Vandy’s number since the start.
South Carolina has dominated the Dores throughout the series, winning 24 of the 28 match-ups, including 10 in a row.
This serves as an important year for Vanderbilt HC Derek Mason, as he looks to continue to build up the Dores program into a middle tier SEC team.
Offensively, the Dores will have to replace QB Kyle Shurmur, who finished his career with 8,865 passing yards and 64 TD.
The skill positions look to be as good as any in the SEC, however, led by RB Ke’Shawn Vaugh, WR Kalijia Lipscomb and TE Jared Pinkney.
Defense is where things get really interesting for the Dores.
Derek Mason was most well known for his stout defenses at Stanford before taking over as head man in Nashville.
That side of the ball really hasn’t panned out, as VU ranked 13th in the SEC and 99th nationally in total defense a year ago.
Vanderbilt was picked by many a year ago to shock USC in Nashville, including all of ESPN’s “College Gameday” crew.
The Gamecocks made those words look foolish, as they cruised to a dominating 37-14 win over Vandy in a game that was never close.
Expect more of the same in Columbia as South Carolina makes it 11 straight wins in the series.
2019 SEASON PROJECTION: 4-8 (1-7)