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Looking Back: Tennessee

The Gamecocks will look to rebound from a disappointing performance on Saturday against Florida and pull off a huge upset against the 5th ranked Tennessee Volunteers, but first let’s take a look back at some of the most important games played in this series’ history.

South Carolina Gamecocks v Tennessee Volunteers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

October 31st, 1992. The Program game. Carolina, now riding a two game SEC winning streak following an 0-5 start to the season, hosted the 16th ranked Tennessee Volunteers for the first time as an SEC Eastern division rival. Tennessee was still in the hunt for the SEC East championship but had to beat Carolina to keep those hopes alive. This was also the day that the movie The Program was filmed at halftime of the contest. Carolina freshman quarterback Steve Taneyhill made more magic on this day to give Carolina a late 24-17 lead on a short touchdown pass to Toby Cates. Tennessee scored on a long catch and run by Mose Phillips to make it 24-23 and Johnny Majors opted to go for 2 and the win instead of kicking the extra point and potentially tying Carolina which would still put them out of the SEC East race. Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler hit James Stewart at the 2 yard line but Hank Campbell made the stop just short of the end zone and the Gamecocks upset Tennessee 24-23 on Halloween.

Syndication: Nashville Rex Perry / The Tennessean

October 29th, 2005. Steve Spurrier returned to Knoxville to face Tennessee, this time leading the Gamecocks in his first season back in the SEC. Carolina was looking for their first win in Knoxville in school history, and facing the once 3rd ranked Volunteers would not be an easy task. It was a defensive slugfest and the Gamecocks were able to hang around thanks to two Sidney Rice touchdown receptions. It was 15-13 Tennessee with 2:51 remaining when Josh Brown hit a career long 49 yard field goal to give Carolina a 16-15 lead. The defense held the Volunteers and the Gamecocks had a historical victory on Rocky Top.

October 27th, 2007. The Gamecocks had just suffered a crippling 17-6 home loss to Vanderbilt while ranked #6 in the country but traveled to Tennessee still in control of their destiny in the SEC East. Carolina had a horrible first half and trailed 21-0. Blake Mitchell was inserted at quarterback and led the comeback effort. Carolina would take a 24-21 lead late in the contest before Daniel Lincoln would send the game to overtime for Tennessee on a field goal. Lincoln made another field goal in overtime and Ryan Succop missed his attempt to give the Vols a 27-24 win in a season that they would represent the SEC East in the Championship game against LSU.

October 19th, 2013. This is the game that kept Carolina out of the SEC Championship game and potentially the BCS National Championship Game in 2013. Carolina looked terrible against a Tennessee team that they were much better than but still managed to find themselves leading late in the game 21-20. Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley heaved a prayer up on 3rd and 10 to Marquez North and North made an incredible one-handed catch to put the Vols in position to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired and Carolina had been upset 23-21.

October 29th, 2016. In Will Muschamp’s first season in Columbia, he got his first marquee victory when Tennessee came to Columbia. Jake Bentley had been inserted at quarterback thus burning his redshirt season. Bentley and the Gamecocks played their best game of the season and Tennessee missed a 58 yard field goal as time expired to give the Gamecocks a 24-21 upset over the 18th ranked Volunteers.

October 14th, 2017. Butch Jones’ last stand as Vols coach would come down to the Gamecock defense making one final stand in the final seconds. In a game that saw only one offensive touchdown would see the Gamecocks lead 15-9 but Tennessee easily move inside the Carolina 5 yard line in the final seconds. Tennessee had one second remaining following an incomplete pass. On the final play of the game Jarrett Guarantano rolled out to his right and threw a pass to the front corner of the endzone that fell incomplete and the Gamecocks improved to 5-2 on the year en route to their 9-4 season that concluded with a victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl.

NCAA Football: Florida at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports