The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt hollowed by South Carolina, lose 38-27

Vanderbilt’s defense was exposed on Saturday night, allowing South Carolina to average 7.8 yards per play.
Miguel Beristan
TE Ben Bresnahan on the field, as captured on Nov. 5, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)

Following a much-needed bye week, the Vanderbilt Commodores suffered their fifth consecutive loss and 26th consecutive conference loss. The Commodores were bested by the South Carolina Gamecocks 38-27 on Saturday night. 

“There’s a higher performance for this team out there,” Lea said. “This is a resilient bunch of guys that care about each other. It’s been. Tough stretch here, but we’re going to stay out it and we’ll keep in search of that Vanderbilt football performance for four quarters.”

Vanderbilt had a lethargic start to their first game of November. The first drive of the game was in Vanderbilt’s hands, but not for long as freshman quarterback AJ Swann threw an interception to South Carolina’s Darius Rush. The Gamecocks scored on the ensuing possession in just five plays, thanks to a 29-yard pitch and catch from Spencer Rattler to Xavier Legette. 

After South Carolina’s flawless first drive, Swann and the Vanderbilt offense scored a touchdown on a five-play drive of their own. The drive was capped off by a 66-yard touchdown from Swann to sophomore Quincy Skinner Jr. The touchdown was Skinner Jr.’s first touchdown of his career.

With 8:36 left in the first quarter, Vanderbilt’s secondary and their overall lack of discipline was exposed. The Gamecocks utilized a wildcat formation, where wide receiver Dakereon Joyner threw to Antwane Wells Jr., who managed to evade 5 Commodores and score a 68-yard touchdown. 

The next two drives ended in punts but the Commodores had an opportunity to strike back into the game as they started their drive on their own 44-yard line. On the first play of the drive, senior running back Ray Davis enforced his will and ran for 25 yards. Davis rushed for a career-high 167 yards on the night.

“We like our running backs,” Lea said. “I thought the offensive staff did a good job with the design and I thought we did a good job creating some space.”

Three plays later, on a key 3rd and 5, Jayden McGowan dropped a throw from Swann that could have changed the complexion of the drive. On the next play, with 3:05 left in the first quarter, Joseph Bulovas missed a 44-yard field goal and was unable to tie the game at 14 apiece.

Following a three-andout from the South Carolina offense, Vanderbilt had the ball on their 20-yard line with just under two minutes left in the first quarter. In the first play of the drive, Swann gave the ball right back to the Gamecocks by committing a costly fumble, which was recovered by DQ Smith in Vanderbilt’s red zone. South Carolina failed to score a touchdown on the short field but converted on a 31-yard field goal to spark their lead to 17-7 with just under 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Vanderbilt, who managed to commit several costly mistakes in the first quarter, was still in the game at the beginning of the second quarter. Swann marched the offense into South Carolina’s endzone in Vanderbilt’s first drive of the second quarter, thanks to an 8-play, 75-yard drive. The drive concluded with another touchdown from Skinner Jr., which pushed the game to a 17-14 South Carolina lead with 11:08 left in the second quarter. Skinner Jr. finished the night with 79 yards.

Although Vanderbilt unleashed newfound momentum with Skinner Jr.’s nine-yard touchdown, they were unable to score until there was 6:50 left in the third quarter. South Carolina—on the other hand—continued to stab the Commodores, scoring on both of their offensive possessions in the second quarter. At halftime, South Carolina had a comfortable 31-14 cushion. In the first half, the Commodores averaged 6.7 yards per play and committed two turnovers, while South Carolina averaged 10.7 yards per play without committing any turnovers.

Feathers flew on the field, as captured on Nov. 5, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)
Feathers flew on the field, as captured on Nov. 5, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)

After an underwhelming first half of offense, the Commodores shifted gears in the second half and started captain Mike Wright after Swann stayed in the locker room with an injury. Wright showed command at quarterback, but he was unable to pull off a come-from-behind victory for the Commodores. In the second half, Vanderbilt outscored South Carolina 13-7.

Vanderbilt’s next matchup will be next Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Commodores last beat the Wildcats on Nov. 14, 2015, 21-17

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, Former Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
Miguel Beristain
Miguel Beristain, Senior Staff Photographer
Miguel Beristain (’24) is a philosophy and cellular and molecular biology double major in the College of Arts and Science from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When not shooting for The Hustler, he can usually be found playing Magic the Gathering, exploring new restaurants or practicing guitar. He can be reached at .
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