South Carolina needs this one, there’s really not much way around it.
The Gamecocks sit at 3-3, coming out of their off week. They have two tough opponents left, two likely wins and a pair of SEC games that could be considered tossups. This is the first, the one at home and a game where they get a still-ailing Tennessee program.
The Vols aren’t a good team, with a competent offense and a kind of dreadful defense. The Gamecocks, they’ve had the same consistent nagging issues: mistakes and miscues, not playing up to what appear to be their abilities.
If they’re going to correct those things, the technical issues that Will Muschamp likes to talk about, coming out of a bye week against an opponent in transition is likely the best time.
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The Volunteers are also dealing with a big loss/perhaps emotional situation and a nagging question. On Thursday, it was announced talented left tackle Trey Smith is done for the foreseeable future with blood clots in his lungs.
Then there’s the quarterback position, where Jarrett Guarantano was knocked out of last week’s game, Keller Chryst looked good in relief and then Jeremy Pruitt said Guarantano should be back.
Tennessee could be dangerous in the right circumstances. They run a slow-paced, occasionally explosive attack, and have been surprisingly effective throwing the ball when they do. USC’s defense is built to not give up big passes, but that group has been glitchy.
These teams tend to play tight games, so a comfortable win would say a lot about what the Gamecocks have cleaned up. But South Carolina still looks like a better squad and has promised to try to run on a defense that struggles in that department.
With a night game crowd in attendance for atmosphere, expect the Gamecocks to do what they need to at the very least.
South Carolina 27, Tennessee 21