The South Carolina defense gave up one big pass play after another as Tennessee put together what could be a game-winning drive Saturday at Neyland Stadium. But when Will Muschamp’s defense needed it most, it got a pair of pass breakups from the 2-yard line to secure a 15-9 victory.
South Carolina (5-2, 3-2 SEC) picked up the win and put more heat on Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC) and coach Butch Jones.
South Carolina-Tennessee recap
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9: It’s over in Knoxville. Guarantano’s final two passes are broken up from the South Carolina 2-yard line and the Gamecocks survive on the road.
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9 (4Q, :04): After a pass interference in the end zone, Tennessee has the ball at the 2. Jarrett Guarantano throws it away on first down and avoids the sack. It’s second down.
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9 (4Q, :22): Tennessee is down to the South Carolina 5 with a first down.
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9 (4Q, 1:16): Parker White hits another field goal to stretch the Gamecocks lead to 6 points.
South Carolina 12, Tennessee 9 (4Q, 2:49): A.J. Turner runs for 7 yards and another Gamecocks first down to the Vols 23.
South Carolina has 190 rushing yards. The Vols have just one timeout left after using their second after the first down.
South Carolina 12, Tennessee 9 (4Q, 2:55): After forcing a Tennessee punt, South Carolina makes a first down and the Vols call their first time out of the second half with the Gamecocks facing second-and-4 at the UT 30.
South Carolina 12, Tennessee 9 (4Q, 5:17): Parker White’s 21-yard field goal capped a 16-play, 92-yard scoring drive that lasted 9:10.
South Carolina 9, Tennessee 9 (3Q, 1:02): A.J. Turner’s 20-yard touchdown run capped an impressive 12-play, 95-yard drive that lasted 6:28. No extra-point kick was attempted, because of a bad/snap hold.
Tennessee 9, South Carolina 3 (2Q, 0:33): An 11-play, 51-yard drive that lasted 4:41 ended with a 24-yard field goal.
Tennessee 6, South Carolina 3 (2Q, 10:31): Parker White hit a 47-yard field goal, to cap a 6-play, 30-yard drive that took 3:05.
Tennessee 6, South Carolina 0 (1Q, 1:36): The Vols 33-yard field goal capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 6:32.
Tennessee 3, South Carolina 0 (1Q, 10:26): After the Gamecocks went three-and-out on their first drive, the Vols drove 46 yards to hit a 29-yard field goal.
South Carolina-Tennessee game time, information
When: Saturday, October 14, 2017
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
TV/live stream: ESPN, watchespn.com and on the WatchESPN app
Radio: Gamecock IMG Sports Network and also be available on Sirius channel 137 and XM channel 190.
The line: Tennessee (-3), over/under is 47.5 points
South Carolina-Tennessee preview
Hot seat talk
Will Muschamp has been in the hot seat before, so he knows how uncomfortable things are right now for Butch Jones.
South Carolina’s second-year coach, who spent four seasons as the head man at Florida, knows how crappy life can be when there’s an angry, vocal segment of fans calling for your job. And there certainly are plenty of Tennessee fans ready to see Jones’ dismissal from Rocky Top.
The topic might come up in conversation when Muschamp and Jones greet one another before the game on Saturday in Knoxville.
“I mean, you just wish them luck, yeah good luck,” Muschamp said. “Not against us. I hope you play and coach really good, except against the Gamecocks.”
For a coach, it’s not too difficult to avoid the outside noise. It’s a different story for players.
“You’re not going to be able to shut off Twitter and limit or stop that negativity. That’s not going to stop,” Muschamp said. “I think, as a coach, you’re somewhat in a bunker mentality.”
Gamecocks injury report
South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp updated the status of several players during his call-in show on Thursday night.
Junior right tackle Zack Bailey (ankle) and senior guard Cory Helms (ankle) both practiced this week and will make the trip to Tennessee. They’re both game-time decisions and SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan has the latest update here.
Junior tackle Malik Young (ankle) and junior wide receiver Terry Googer (head/neck) will not travel to Knoxville.
South Carolina (4-2, 2-2 SEC) and Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC) kickoff at noon on ESPN. The Gamecocks won last season’s matchup in Columbia, 24-21.
The Vols lead the all-time series, 25-8-2, but Muschamp is 5-0 against Tennessee as a head coach.
— Have you seen the uniforms the Gamecocks are wearing Saturday against Tennessee? You might say they’re out of this world.
— Will things get chippy between the Gamecocks and Vols today? The two sides got into it this week on Twitter.
— SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan says South Carolina is gaining confidence on defense.
South Carolina-Tennessee prediction
If South Carolina is able to start fast on the offensive side of the ball, it could be bad news for Tennessee coach Butch Jones, who might be coaching for his job on Saturday in Knoxville.
An early lead for South Carolina could go a long way in taking the crowd of the game, assuming they actually show up ready for a fight with an early start.
Fortunately for Jones and those on Rocky Top not ready to bid him farewell, the Gamecocks quarterback has struggled to catch his stride in the early stages of games this season.
One might assume that Tennessee’s offense is going to do its best to establish the run with a quarterback making his first career start. But if they’re playing from behind for most of the game, it might be difficult to stay committed to the ground game.
That being said, there’s no guarantee that Quentin Dormady, who started the Vols’ first five games, won’t play at some point along the way on Saturday. ( BONUS: Check out SEC Country’s Tennessee writers’ predictions)
Not only do I like the matchup for the Gamecocks — look no further than last year’s success in Williams-Brice — but I wonder if there have been too many distractions lately in Knoxville, and not just during the bye week.
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