Tennessee at South Carolina
The No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks host the Tennessee Volunteers in SEC East action on Saturday, October 27th. South Carolina has won its last two meetings with Tennessee, including a 14-3 road victory in 2011. The defense held the Vols, who were playing without starting quarterback Tyler Bray, to just 186 total yards. The Gamecocks were without Marcus Lattimore, and Brandon Wilds rushed for 137 yards in his place to lead the way.
Oddsmakers have installed South Carolina as a 14-point favorite over Tennessee with a total set of 55.5 points.
The Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2 SEC) were ranked as high as No. 3 in the polls after their 6-0 start. However, road losses to then-No. 9 LSU and then-No. 2 Florida since have certainly hurt their chances of winning the SEC East. Their 11-44 loss at Florida last Saturday was a bit misleading.
South Carolina actually outgained the Gators 191-183 for the game in a defensive battle. Its four turnovers set them up with excellent field position, and they took advantage. All six of their touchdowns came from 13 yards and in, and Jeff Driskel tossed four short touchdown passes to lead the way for Florida.
Connor Shaw was held to 9 of 20 passing for 72 yards, and his nine carries went for –2 yards. He was eventually replaced by Dylan Thompson, who proceeded to go 8 of 20 for 83 yards with an interception. Marcus Lattimore rushed only three times for 13 yards in the loss.
The Gamecocks rank 97th in the country in total offense (354.9 yards/game) and 8th in total defense (282.2 yards/game). Shaw is completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 982 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Lattimore has rushed for 597 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he’s been nearly non-existent the last two weeks against LSU and Florida. They need to get him going against Tennessee.
The Volunteers (3-4, 0-4 SEC) are still in search of their first conference victory after several near misses. All four of their conference losses have come against Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama, four teams that are ranked inside the Top 13 as we speak. They certainly haven’t been granted any favors from the schedule makers.
Tennessee is coming off a 13-44 home loss to top-ranked Alabama. It was outgained 282-539 as it was simply overmatched in this one. Tyler Bray couldn’t get anything going, completing 13 of 27 passes for 184 yards with two interceptions.
Marlin Lane Jr. rushed 15 times for 55 yards, while also catching five balls for 48 yards. The Vols were limited to 79 yards on 27 carries. Justin Hunter finished with four receptions for a team-high 70 yards in the loss.
The Vols rank 33rd in the country in total offense (453.7 yards/game). Their strength is a passing attack that ranks 26th in the land (285.3 yards/game). They haven’t been able to stop anyone with any kind of consistency, ranking 96th in total defense (445.3 yards/game).
Prediction: South Carolina 31 – Tennessee 20
The Vols have simply played such a tough schedule that they are undervalued at this point in the season. They come in a two touchdown underdog and I look for them to give the Gamecocks a run for their money. South Carolina has to be deflated coming in after two huge losses to LSU and Florida, and it will have a hard time getting up emotionally for this one. Tyler Bray and the offense can put up enough points here to stay within 14.