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South Carolina-Vanderbilt Five Factors Review

Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

I spent time in August revising and automating much of my process for doing these Five Factors reviews, so I'm able to crank out the raw data much faster than last year. That will allow me to be able to at least supply the Five Factors results even on games I didn't watch closely, if at all.

So yeah, I didn't catch South Carolina-Vandy on Thursday night. I live in Italy, and I can pretty much only stream one game at a time. I picked Tennessee-App State instead to see the East favorite in action, and even then, I only watched the first half live and had to catch the second thanks to YouTube.

From what I read about it, I didn't miss much from Nashville. Even so, it was the first game of SEC play this year, so let's go ahead and post the results.

This review is based on Bill Connelly's Five Factors of winning, sacks are counted as pass plays, and it doesn't include the couple of plays ending each half when the team with the ball was just killing the clock.


Team Runs 10+ Pct. Passes 20+ Pct. Explosive Pct.
South Carolina 3 9.7% 2 6.7% 8.2%
Vanderbilt 6 15.8% 1 4.2% 11.3%

One trend that will become apparent is that Vandy's ground game had the best night of any of the four offensive aspects (run and pass game for each team). The 'Dores didn't have any breakaway runs, as their longest was Khari Blasingame's pair of 13-yard rushes, but they did get a few chunks on the ground.


The main measure here is success rate. Watch this short video if you need to brush up on it.

Team Run SR Pass SR Overall SR Red Zone SR
South Carolina 29.0% 36.7% 32.8% 50.0%
Vanderbilt 47.4% 16.7% 35.5% 57.1%

The success rates here outside the Commodore rushing attack are middling-to-poor. The red zone figure for South Carolina doesn't mean much since the Gamecocks only ran two plays there (Vandy ran seven).

Team 1Q SR 2Q SR 3Q SR 4Q SR
South Carolina 11.1% 26.3% 27.8% 60.0%
Vanderbilt 44.4% 18.2% 40.0% 33.3%

Carolina got off to a dreadful start, while Vandy managed to move the ball a bit early with Kyle Shumur running the show. The momentum died when Derek Mason decided to stick with his predetermined yet inexplicable choice to swap in Wade Freebeck, as that change led to five consecutive three-and-outs. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks had two fourth quarter drives, and they ended with a touchdown and a field goal, respectively. The success rate bears out the sudden change of fortune.

Efficiency by Player

Player Comp. Pct. Pass Eff. Yards/Att Sacks Pass SR
Kyle Shurmur 36.4% 64.2 3.3 1 17.4%
Kyle Shurmur, 1Q 66.7% 101.7 4.2 0 16.7%
Perry Orth 57.9% 125.1 8.0 0 42.1%
Brandon McIlwain 45.5% 72.2 3.2 0 27.3%

To be clear, Shurmur wasn't setting the world on fire in his pre-Freebeck action. However, it was markedly better than his overall game in every respect except success rate. I left Freebeck off of this table because he only had one official pass attempt, which was incomplete.

Meanwhile, Orth should have the primary job nailed down for now. McIlwain may be the future, but the veteran had the better game here and led all three scoring drives.

Player Targets Catches Yards Yards/Target SR
Bryan Edwards 12 8 101 8.4 41.7%
Deebo Samuel 5 2 36 7.2 20.0%
Hayden Hurst 5 2 17 3.4 40.0%
A.J. Turner 3 3 27 9.0 66.7%
Jamari Smith 3 0 0 0.0 0.0%
K.C. Crosby 2 1 6 3.0 50.0%

The open question of who would step into the void left behind by Pharoh Cooper had two answers: Edwards and Samuel.

Player Targets Catches Yards Yards/Target SR
Kalija Lipscomb 5 1 15 3.0 20.0%
Ralph Webb 4 3 28 7.0 25.0%
C.J. Duncan 3 2 24 8.0 66.7%
Trent Sherfield 3 0 0 0.0 0.0%
Nathan Marcus 2 1 6 3.0 0.0%
Latevius Rayford 2 0 0 0.0 0.0%
Caleb Scott 1 0 0 0.0 0.0%
Dallas Rivers 1 0 0 0.0 0.0%
Jared Pinkney 1 0 0 0.0 0.0%
Khari Blasingame 1 1 0 0.0 0.0%

I hope for Vandy's sake that South Carolina was keying on Sherfield, because Vandy can't afford to have its best receiver from a year ago come up empty. I did see that he had a reception from Freebeck called back for holding and that he dropped another pass, so he did at least get his mitts on the ball.

Shurmur did a good job of spreading the ball around to a bunch of different guys. Or, at least, aiming the ball at a bunch of different guys. If VU could actually complete passes to ten different players rather than just target ten different players, that'd be a game changer for this offense.

Player Carries YPC Rushing SR
A.J. Turner 13 5.4 38.5%
Brandon McIlwain 7 4.1 28.6%
David Williams 5 1.4 0.0%
Perry Orth 5 1.6 20.0%
Deebo Samuel 1 8.0 100.0%

To Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper's credit, they rode the young Turner rather than just stick with the elder Williams. Turner also led the team in yards per target. It would seem that they've got a good one in him.

Player Carries YPC Rushing SR
Ralph Webb 19 4.9 52.6%
Khari Blasingame 13 4.1 53.8%
Wade Freebeck 2 3.5 0.0%
Donaven Tennyson 1 -3.0 0.0%
Kalija Lipscomb 1 -1.0 0.0%
Kyle Shurmur 1 2.0 0.0%
Trent Sherfield 1 9.0 100.0%

Vandy appears to have a nice duo with Webb and Blasingame. Until and unless Shurmur shapes up some more, the offense will ride on those two.

Field Position

Team Avg. Starting Position Plays in Opp. Territory Pct. Of Total
South Carolina 69 23 37.7%
Vanderbilt 75 24 38.7%

The Gamecocks enjoyed a slight advantage in starting field position, but otherwise it was about even.

Finishing Drives

A trip inside the 40 is a drive where the team has a first down at the opponent's 40 or closer or where it scores from further out than that. A red zone trip is a drive with a first down at the opponent's 20 or closer.

Team Drives Trips Inside 40 Points Red Zone Trips Points
South Carolina 11 4 13 1 7
Vanderbilt 12 3 10 2 10

Both teams missed out on scoring on one of their trips inside the 40. McIlwain fumbled it away at the Commodore 17 in the second quarter, while Tommy Openshaw missed a 45-yard field goal in the fourth.


Vanderbilt won the turnover battle two-nil, collecting that just-mentioned McIlwain fumble in the second quarter and recovering Deebo Samuel's muffed punt catch in the first. They were costly for the Gamecocks, as Samuel's fumble led to a VU field goal and McIlwain's wiped away a prime scoring opportunity.


Neither team did much to inspire confidence for the long haul in 2016, but they each had their highlights. Webb and Blasingame might run VU to a few wins this year, while Edwards and Turner made a huge impact as freshman for Carolina.

The Gamecocks probably feel inspired after their second half rally, but such dramatics might not have been necessary if not for those two turnovers. I'm not sure either of these teams will challenge any of the top three teams in the East, but given how Tennessee and Florida looked in Week 1, who knows?