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South Carolina 47, Vanderbilt 6: Embarrassing

This is definitely a low point.

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NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score

Five Factors Vanderbilt South Carolina
Five Factors Vanderbilt South Carolina
Plays 70 58
Total Yards 234 493
Yards Per Play 3.34 8.50
Rushing Attempts 41 22
Rushing Yards 137 142
Rushing YPP 3.34 6.45
Passing Attempts 29 36
Passing Yards 97 351
Passing YPP 3.34 9.75
Rushing Success Rate 41.46% 31.82%
Passing Success Rate 27.59% 63.89%
Success Rate 35.71% 51.72%
Avg. Field Position 28.4 30
PP40 2.00 6.67
Turnovers 2 1

I’ve been a Vanderbilt fan since 2006, give or take, and while I’ve seen a lot of times that Vanderbilt lost by a lot — many if not most of those were simply a result of being overmatched. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve been truly embarrassed by Vanderbilt football. The Missouri game in 2020, UNLV in 2019, Temple in 2014, Wake Forest in 2010.

And this.

It’s one thing to be bad and overmatched, and it’s quite another when I’m ambivalent about whether guys are playing hard, whether guys want to be there, whether the team has quit. One of the good things, I guess, about being a Vanderbilt fan is that it’s rare that Vanderbilt straight up quits on a season. Everybody else in the SEC can remember at least one team that went 4-8 or 5-7 that was clearly mailing it in in November and aside from maybe the 2020 team (which had a bunch of guys opt out toward the end of the season) or 2010 (when everybody knew toward the end that Robbie Caldwell was not going to be retained), can we even think of a team that did this? Rod Dowhower’s final game was a 14-7 loss to Tennessee at the end of a 2-9 season when Woody Widenhofer made Peyton Manning look like an average quarterback. This just isn’t a thing that happens.

And actually, for a little over a half, this looked like a coaching disaster more than anything else. Vanderbilt had two scoring chances that resulted in no points thanks to failed fourth down conversions; on the second one of those, on the first drive of the second half, Joey Lynch drew up a pass play on 4th and 5 at the South Carolina 18 that had nobody going beyond the sticks. Vanderbilt also elected to punt on 4th and 7 at the South Carolina 46 with under a minute left in the first half. In the meantime, as Vanderbilt’s offense produced 97 yards and a 27.6% success rate on 29 attempts, a clearly-healthy AJ Swann watched from the sidelines, and Clark Lea addressed this decision in the postgame press conference by actually saying “he gave us a chance to punt” in reference to Ken Seals.

But, hey, cryptic tweets after the game.

This is a disaster, and it’s time to call it a disaster.

(The final score, by the way, was inflated by three late South Carolina touchdowns off a blocked punt and a couple of fumbles in the fourth quarter. This was still an embarrassing performance long before that.)

I still have my doubts that Clark Lea is going to be fired after this season; but at the very least, Joey Lynch needs to go. I could make an argument for retaining Nick Howell, but I won’t argue if you think he needs to go too. This can’t keep going on.

Individual Stats


Passing Comp Att Comp % Yds TD INT Sacks Yds Lost Net Yds Success Rate YPP
Passing Comp Att Comp % Yds TD INT Sacks Yds Lost Net Yds Success Rate YPP
Ken Seals 13 28 46.43% 104 1 0 1 7 97 27.59% 3.3

Walter Taylor also played but didn’t attempt a pass. The combined performance of Taylor and Seals, again, makes you wonder what in the hell AJ Swann is doing on the sidelines. As for Seals, well, this was a performance that served as a reminder of why he was the backup. It didn’t help that his offensive coordinator was making boneheaded play calls.


Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
Rushing Att Yds YPA TD Success Rate
AJ Newberry 12 38 3.166666667 0 25.00%
Sedrick Alexander 9 25 2.777777778 0 11.11%
Walter Taylor 6 38 6.333333333 0 50.00%
Ken Seals 5 5 1 0 80.00%
Patrick Smith 3 16 5.333333333 0 100.00%
Jayden McGowan 1 4 4 0 0.00%
Chase Gillespie 1 -4 -4 0 0.00%

Under normal circumstances, Vanderbilt’s two leading rushers being a true freshman who’s taking a four-game redshirt, and a redshirt freshman quarterback, would have you thinking good things, only they’re not — because the latter probably shouldn’t be playing (at least, not at quarterback) and the former had 38 yards on 12 carries, not exactly a performance that inspires confidence. Sedrick Alexander didn’t have a good day, either.


Receiving Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Target Yds/Catch Success Rate
Receiving Targets Catches Yds TD Catch Rate Yds/Target Yds/Catch Success Rate
London Humphreys 7 3 33 0 42.86% 4.7 11.0 28.57%
Quincy Skinner 3 2 22 1 66.67% 7.3 11.0 33.33%
Sedrick Alexander 3 2 9 0 66.67% 3.0 4.5 33.33%
Kamrean Johnson 3 1 6 0 33.33% 2.0 6.0 33.33%
Richie Hoskins 3 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%
Logan Kyle 2 2 20 0 100.00% 10.0 10.0 100.00%
Will Sheppard 2 1 6 0 50.00% 3.0 6.0 50.00%
Junior Sherrill 2 1 5 0 50.00% 2.5 5.0 0.00%
Jayden McGowan 1 1 3 0 100.00% 3.0 3.0 0.00%
AJ Newberry 1 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%
Patrick Smith 1 0 0 0 0.00% 0.0 #DIV/0! 0.00%

I’m not going to harp on the Will Sheppard situation much — the season is lost and he’s pretty clearly not going to be on the team next season, so I don’t mind the coaching staff giving up on him. Jayden McGowan barely being used in the offense is much more of a mystery.


Vanderbilt’s defense was actually playing pretty well before the dam burst about midway through the third quarter — and, really, I almost think they looked at the pathetic performance by the offense and said “oh, so that’s what we’re doing.”

Anyway, I think Langston Patterson and Bryce Cowan have the potential to be stars.

What’s Next

A bye week followed by a trip to Knoxville to end the season on November 25, time and television network to be announced presumably tomorrow (I doubt anyone’s exercising the six-day option for that crap.) And then... it’s over.