The South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a SEC showdown.
South Carolina is coming off perhaps their best performance of the season against Arkansas, while the struggling Volunteers are coming off of a 41-0 beating at the hands of Georgia. This is an important game for both teams, as the Gamecocks look to improve their conference record to 3-2, while the Volunteers look to silence the skeptics on their down season.
What to expect from Tennessee
There has been a ton of chatter this season about head coach Butch Jones. The Volunteers are not playing to the standards they normally are, and Butch Jones has taken a lot of heat for that. Yet, the season is still not a failure. The Volunteers only have two losses on the season, and can silence all of the critics with a big home win over South Carolina. Look for the Volunteers to come out with a ton of energy at home on Saturday.
The Volunteers will also be starting Jarrett Guarantano at quarterback this Saturday in place of Quinten Dormady, who was Tennessee’s starter through the first five games. A lot has been made of Dormady’s benching and his future seems to be unclear with the team. Guarantano appeared in his first collegiate action against Indiana State, and threw for 41 yards and a touchdown. This week will be his first collegiate start.
What the Volunteers need to do to win
The key for the Volunteers in this game is to rely on running back John Kelly heavily. With an experienced quarterback and a struggling offensive, the Volunteers should look to control the clock and time of possession against a red-hot South Carolina team. Kelly has 494 yards and six touchdowns on the season rushing, and also has 229 yards receiving for the Volunteers. Kelly is the key player for Tennessee. Look for their offense to run through him.
What to expect from South Carolina
South Carolina’s defense keeps on getting better and better. There’s no reason to think it won’t improve again this week against a struggling offense in the Volunteers. Look for the Gamecocks to bring a lot of pressure defensively to try and force some turnovers.
What the Gamecocks need to do to win
The Gamecocks need to play the way they have been, which is smart on the offensive end, and ride the defense through the game. The offense is not explosive, but it is capable of making big drives and plays at any point of the game. If they limit turnovers on the offensive side of the ball like they have been, the Gamecocks should handle the Volunteers.
Desperate teams are the toughest teams to play, and that’s exactly what the Volunteers are right now. They are going to come out hungry and ready for a battle, but it won’t be enough to get past the Gamecocks stifling defense. Gamecocks 31, Tennessee 20.