South Carolina plays Tennessee on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know about the game.
▪ Who: South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) vs. Tennessee (5-2, 2-2)
▪ When: 7:15 p.m.
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▪ Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250), Columbia
▪ Series history: Tennessee leads 25-7-2, with four of USC’s wins coming since 2008
▪ TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, play-by-play; Rod Gilmore, analysis; Quint Kessenich, sideline)
▪ Radio: 107.5 FM (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline)
▪ Satellite radio: Sirius 93/XM 191
▪ Line: Tennessee by 13
▪ Weather: Clear, mid-70s at kickoff, the dropping into the 60s during the game
What’s at stake
Tennessee is looking to stay in the SEC Eastern Division hunt and bounce back in a big way after two disheartening losses to No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 1 Alabama. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp hopes to build momentum after his team snapped a three-game losing streak with a 34-28 win over UMass last Saturday.
Somebody has to lose
Neither head coach has lost to the opposing program. Muschamp was a perfect 4-0 against the Volunteeers as the head coach at Florida, while Tennessee’s Butch Jones has won all three of his contests against the Gamecocks.
Oh, so close
The South Carolina-Tennessee football series has been nip-and-tuck the past four years, with those games decided by a total of 11 points. Muschamp this week took the rare step of talking to his team about the Gamecocks’ painful losses of late. He wanted to impress upon his players the importance of preparation in swinging those close games.
The teams, by the numbers
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
South Carolina players to watch
1. Quarterback Jake Bentley: The freshman threw for two touchdowns and 201 yards in his first college game last week. The Vols defense is quite good, so it remains to be seen how he’s introduced to SEC play.
2. Kicker Elliott Fry: The senior has scored 323 career points, seven shy of the school record of 330, held by Collin Mackie (1987-90).
3. Safety DJ Smith: He is a starter and a constant presence in the defensive backfield this season, but Smith has had some not-so-flattering moments against Tennessee the last two seasons. After being a victim of multiple Vols scores, Smith said he is looking to redeem himself this year.
Tennessee players to watch
1. Quarterback Josh Dobbs: His passing has never been quite as good as its reputation, but the longtime starter unlocks a lot on the ground with his skills as a power runner. He’s thrown for 1,525 yards, 14 scores and nine picks, against a slate of lethal passing defenses, and outside of sacks he’s rushed for 439 yards and five scores on six yards per carry.
2. Wide receiver Josh Malone: The junior has averaged 18 yards per catch as the Vols top target and is a tall target in the passing game. He’s also a play-maker who’s actually healthy, as the team could be without dynamic running back Alvin Kamara because of a knee injury. Power back Jalen Hurd has already been hobbled this year by injury.
3. Defensive end Derek Barnett: He’s one of the best defensive ends in the SEC, and that’s high praise considering the talent at Alabama and Texas A&M. He’s got six sacks, 11 1/2 tackles for loss and can even drop into coverage.
Projected South Carolina depth chart
Our projection for the South Carolina football depth chart.
WR – SAMUEL (Googer)
WR – J. SMITH (Banks)
WR – EDWARDS (Dawkins)
LT – ZANDI (Park)
LG – BAILEY (Stanley or Park)
C – KNOTT (Helms)
RG – HELMS (Stanley)
RT – YOUNG (Camper)
TE – HURST (Crosby)
QB – BENTLEY (McIlwain)
RB – DOWDLE (Williams or Turner)
DE – LEWIS (Sawyer)
DT – STALLWORTH (Thomas)
DT – THOMAS (Jones)
DE – ENGLISH (Wonnum)
LB – WALTON (Bryant)
LB – HOLLOMAN (Brunson)
LB – ALLEN-WILLIAMS (Pittman)
CB – LAMMONS (Fenton)
S – D. SMITH (Montac)
S – MOODY (Elder)
CB – KING (Fenton)
NICK – FENTON (Diggs)
PK – FRY (Charlton)
P – KELLY (Charlton)
LS – DR. WILLIAMS (McGriff)
KR – FENTON (Turner)
PR – LAMMONS (Turner)
H – KELLY