Coming off a tough 35-13 loss to No. 1 Alabama, the Tennessee Volunteers (2-5, 1-3 SEC) will return to Knoxville to play the South Carolina Gamecocks (3-4, 2-3 SEC).
South Carolina fell 38-27 to a No. 9 Florida team last week, but the Gamecocks put up a good fight in front of their home crowd. South Carolina put up 387 total yards to Florida’s 354.
Tennessee’s defense has been playing well, but the Vol front seven may struggle this week with the run after South Carolina rushed for 217 total yards against the Gators. Last week the Crimson tide gashed the Volunteers for 140 yards on the ground.
South Carolina was also stingy with the football against Florida, as they coughed up just a single fumble and no interceptions.
Tennessee has improved upon their turnover differential in the last few games, but the Vols could only force one turnover against Alabama while giving up two.
South Carolina will be a tough team to overcome, but this Tennessee team is much better than it was when the season began.
The biggest factor in Tennessee moving past South Carolina with another SEC win will likely be quarterback play, which remains a major question for the Tennessee offense.
Starting quarterback Brian Maurer is unlikely to play in this week’s game after suffering a significant head injury in each of Tennessee’s last two games.
Jarrett Guarantano will probably start against South Carolina, though he could be on a short leash after fumbling on a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter against Alabama. J.T. Shrout is next in line if Guarantano is benched and Maurer is unable to play.
Working in Tennessee’s favor is the home-field advantage, as Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt discussed at Monday’s press conference.
“Neyland has really been an electric atmosphere all season,” Pruitt said, “We’re excited about it, being able to play in front of a great crowd.”
South Carolina is favored by just 4.5 points as of Thursday, so Tennessee has a decent chance of pulling out an upset in this one.
Christian Knox, sports editor – Tennessee 24, South Carolina 20
Tennessee’s best shot in this one is keeping the ball on the ground and playing tough defense, just like the Vols did against Mississippi State. South Carolina will run the ball better than Tennessee, but the Vols will find ways to force turnovers and will secure their second SEC win.
Dusty Bryan, assistant sports editor – Tennessee 20, South Carolina 17
Expect a low scoring game when the Gamecocks visit Neyland Stadium. Both teams are dealing with injuries and will rely on their defenses to win. Cimaglia’s reliable leg and a juiced home crowd will allow Tennesee to eek out a win.
Game Time and Coverage
Kickoff in Neyland is set for 4 p.m. EST on Saturday. The game will air on the SEC Network. TNJN will have more coverage on Tennessee vs. South Carolina following the game.
Edited by Maddie Torres
Featured Image by Ben Gleason