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Vandy coach heard from SEC after missed call

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Vanderbilt coach James Franklin says he heard from the Southeastern Conference office 15 minutes after his Commodores left the field with a 17-13 loss to No. 9 South Carolina. He's not saying what he was told about the lack of a flag on an obvious pass interference that ended the Commodores' bid for an upset.

South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger grabbed Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews' left arm as the ball arrived, preventing him from possibly catching the pass deep into Gamecocks' territory. The Gamecocks ran out the clock for the win.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive was at the game, but Franklin said Monday that he wouldn't talk about officiating.

"For some reason, you guys don't like me and want to make sure I get fined," Franklin said. "My wife won't be real happy with that. Neither will (Vanderbilt athletic director) David Williams."

Franklin made sure to compliment officiating in the SEC and focused on the Commodores, who went 6-7 last season with a handful of close losses. But he said every call is magnified for a team playing a bunch of close games.

"When we start being able to spread the gap and have more significant wins where every call is not so important, they won't cut as deep for us," Franklin said. "But when every game we are fighting so hard for every inch on the field and our kids have to play with such passion and emotion, when you do get a tough call in either direction ... it seems like a really tough call.

"But that's just kind of where we are."

Vanderbilt (0-1) visits Northwestern (1-0) on Saturday night, and the Commodores must refocus after an emotional home opener against South Carolina. They did plenty well, outgaining South Carolina in total offense and limiting the Gamecocks to 67 yards passing.

Even though the Commodores gave up five sacks, Franklin didn't see many areas he's ready to call mistakes. He said they did turn the ball over with one interception, missed some assignments and had five penalties, the biggest a 15-yarder on cornerback Andre Hal for a hit on a receiver on South Carolina's game-winning touchdown drive.

"We didn't play the way we needed to play early in the season against a great opponent," Franklin said. "If you're playing maybe a different opponent, the margin of error isn't as small and you can make a few early season mistakes."

The Commodores know they had their chances to win their opener but are ready to move on.

"We were in that game to win it, and what happened happened and we just can't let it happen this week," linebacker Archibald Barnes said. "Northwestern obviously got a good win this weekend, and that was a close win. If it comes down to a close game, we hope we can pull it off. This week we know better, and we expect better."

Vandy coaches also helped make sure the Commodores switched gears to Northwestern by sending out a mass text reminding them to watch Northwestern's game at Syracuse, which the Wildcats won 42-21.

"People try to make a big deal out of the SEC/Big Ten matchup," guard Josh Jelesky said. "We're a good conference, they're a quality opponent as we saw last week. They came back and played a great game and beat Syracuse. We have to go up there and treat them like anybody else and just beat them. Play our game."

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Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter: http://twitter.com/teresamwalker

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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