Josh Kendall

Kendall’s Morning Meeting: Gamecocks owe the Vols some payback

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The primary goals of South Carolina’s season are long gone. A bowl game remains a possibility, but it’s an outside one at best at this point.

So what’s the motivation for the Gamecocks to go to Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday and play well? How about pay back. In the last two seasons, none of South Carolina’s losses have been more costly than the ones to the Vols.

Two years ago, a 23-21 loss to a bad Tennessee team cost then-No. 11 South Carolina a trip to the SEC Championship Game. Last year, an almost-impossible meltdown in a 45-42 overtime loss caused Steve Spurrier to walk out of his postgame news conference before it really got started.

“It’s a good, competitive game. I think both teams certainly want to win, so for it to come down to the end, you can tell the teams are going to fight, and that's what we've done the last few years,” South Carolina interim coach Shawn Elliott said. “We've got to go continue to do it and see if the ball will bounce our way at the end of this one.”

The problem for the Gamecocks is this Tennessee team is much better than the two that beat it in the last two years.