COLUMBIA -- If South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is hoping to cure his team's ills tonight, he might have picked the wrong opponent to do it against.

The 12th-ranked Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0 SEC) have not looked sharp in their first three games. Tonight, they take on unbeaten Vanderbilt (3-0, 1-0) at Williams-Brice Stadium. The 7 p.m. game will be nationally televised by ESPN2.

Despite USC's commanding 16-4 record in the series against the Commodores, the Gamecocks have historically sputtered against their SEC East foe. Spurrier dominated Vanderbilt while at Florida, going

12-0 against the Commodores, but has found the going much more difficult during his tenure with the Gamecocks. Over the past six seasons, the Gamecocks are 4-2 against the Commodores and only 2-2 in their last four matchups.

The margin of victory in those six games is just over 10 points.

Last year in Nashville, with Marcus Lattimore nursing a sore ankle, it took 146 rushing yards from Brian Maddox and a 72-yard bomb from Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery late in the game to lift the Gamecocks to a 21-7 win.

Spurrier doesn't expect anything different tonight.

"It's never easy against them," Spurrier said. "You look at them on tape and see their guys are in position. They're always in position. They play fundamentally sound. They're playing with confidence and their defense is playing well. We've had close games with them just about every year I've been here. It will probably be another down-to-the-wire game."

Lattimore said he's noticed a different attitude from the Commodores on film.

"It's a new Vandy," Lattimore said. "You can't just roll over them. They played us tough last year. They've got a real good defense and we're going to have to step up to the challenge."

The Commodores are notorious for zone blitzes, a point of emphasis this week in practice.

"They use a lot of zone blitzes and they're real good at disguising their blitzes," Lattimore said. "Our pass protection is going to be a key for us. Knowing where they're blitzing from and how they're blitzing and picking them up is going to be huge for us."

Vanderbilt leads the nation in interceptions with 10 and has returned three of those for touchdowns.

"They return eight starters on defense from last year," Spurrier said. "They play the coverages most teams play; a little man-to-man, a little zone, disguised very well. Zone blitz and all that. They get after it. They force you to make mistakes."