KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee came up just short in a furious comeback bid, falling 15-9 to South Carolina at Neyland Stadium.
The Vols drove nearly the length of the field in the final minute but had a pass broken up in the end zone on the final play of the game. The loss drops Tennessee to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the SEC with a trip to No. 1 Alabama looming next week. The Gamecocks improve to 5-2 overall and 3-2 in conference.
Vols redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw for 133 yards on 11-of-18 passing without an interception in his first career start. John Kelly led the Vols with 58 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Brent Cimaglia accounted for all of Tennessee’s points on field goals of 29, 33 and 24 yards. The Vols were shut out in the second half.
South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley threw for 129 yards on 15-of-24 passing without an interception. A.J. Turner rushed for a team-high 86 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9 (Final)
• After throwing the ball away on first down and having a pass batted down on second down, Guarantano has a pass intended for Brandon Johnson broken up in the end zone.
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9 (0:09)
• The Gamecocks commit pass interference in the end zone, setting up the Vols with 1st-and-goal at the 2.
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9 (0:41)
• The Vols get a huge play with Guarantano completing a 39-yard pass to Johnson, who gets to the Gamecocks’ 22-yard line.
South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9 (1:13)
• The Gamecocks extend their lead with a 36-yard field goal.
South Carolina 12, Tennessee 9 (2:44)
• The Gamecocks are attempting to run out the clock on the Vols. They have the ball with a 2nd-and-6 at the Tennessee 21-yard line. The Vols are out of timeouts.
South Carolina 12, Tennessee 9 (5:17)
• South Carolina takes its first lead on a 21-yard field goal by White. The drive lasted 9:10 of game time and went 72 yards.
South Carolina 9, Tennessee 9 (1:02)
• South Carolina scores the first touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run by A.J. Turner. A bad snap cost the Gamecocks the extra point and the lead.
• Tennessee opens the second half with a 3-and-out.
• The Vols wrap up their best offensive half of the season, but only come away 9 points.
• Guarantano has looked comfortable for the most part in his first start. He has completed 5-of-7 passes for 54 yards and rushed for 16 yards.
• Running back John Kelly has 53 yards off of 12 rushes.
• The announced attendence for the game was 98,104.
Tennessee 9, South Carolina 3 (:33)
• Cimaglia converts his third field goal of the game. This one from 24-yards out.
• South Carolina goes for it on 4th-and-1 but is stopped by defensive end Kyle Phillips. Tennessee takes over at the 43-yard line.
• Safety Micah Abernathy goes down with an injury. Freshman Theo Jackson gets his first action of the day in Abernathy’s place.Abernathy returns the next play.
Tennessee 6, South Carolina 3 (10:32)
• South Carolina gets on the board with a 47-yard field goal by Parker White. Tennessee will take the ball over on the 25-yard line.
• Vols just finished their most dominant quarter of football this season, here’s how the stats looking entering the second quarter
Tennessee 6, South Carolina 0 (1:36)
• Guarantano leads the Vols to another score after the 14-play, 80-yard drive. Cimaglia makes the 33-yard field goal.
Tennessee 3, South Carolina 0 (10:26)
• Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano leads a scoring drive to open the game. The drive lasted 7 plays and went 46 yards. Cimaglia made a 29-yard field goal.
• Kicker Aaron Medley will miss the game with an illness. Medley’s backup, Brent Cimaglia, has made one field goal in his four attempts this season.
Follow the action below with SEC Country reporters Mike Griffith and Blake Morgan live from Neyland Stadium.
Tennessee-South Carolina recap
Tennessee-South Carolina: Pregame quick hitters
• The last five games in the Tennessee-South Carolina series have been decided by 3 points or fewer.
• Vols redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is making his first career start.
• Tennessee’s defense allows 129.2 passing yards per game, the third-fewest in the nation.
• Vols sophomore linebacker Daniel Bituli averages 9.2 tackles per game, second in the SEC.
• Tennessee is 14-6 in its last 20 games — only Alabama (19-1) and Georgia (15-5) are better, while LSU and Auburn are also 14-6 in that span.
• Vols punter Trevor Daniel ranks second in the country with a 47.3 yards-per-punt average.
• Tennessee tailback John Kelly leds the SEC in all-purpose yards and yards from scrimmage at 144.6.
• The Vols lead the SEC and are ninth in the country in kick return average (28.3), even though star return man Evan Berry hasn’t played since the opening game.
• Tennessee is missing seven starters for the game on account of injuries/suspension: RT Chance Hall (knee), WR Jauan Jennings (wrist), KR Evan Berry (knee), DE Darrell Taylor (suspension), MLB Darrin Kirkland (knee), OLB Cortez McDowell (wrist), SS Todd Kelly Jr. (knee).
• The Vols are 21-10 at home under Butch Jones, including a 13-4 mark since the start of the 2015 season.
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