South Carolina Football upsets Tennessee in offensive showcase

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - OCTOBER 08: Head coach Shane Beamer of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks on in the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field on October 08, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - OCTOBER 08: Head coach Shane Beamer of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks on in the first quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field on October 08, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The South Carolina Gamecocks upset the Tennessee Volunteers, 63-38. South Carolina Football lit up the Volunteers’ secondary for 453 passing yards. Additionally, they had 6 passing TD’s in this game. Tennessee’s defense struggled to get off the field in this game, as South Carolina punted once (and didn’t have any turnovers). The Vols’ secondary got lit up in this game, and the offense couldn’t keep up.

The game started with offensive fireworks. Both teams scored on their opening drives. The Gamecocks scored first on a steady diet of runs and two 10+ yard passing plays. The Vols responded mostly with their legs on their way to tie the game.

South Carolina responded quickly off a Spencer Rattler pass to Josh Vann for 60 yards and a score. Coming into the next drive, it seemed like Tennessee would respond, but a holding penalty killed the drive before it started and the Vols had to punt.

The Gamecocks went right back to the passing game, leading to a TD and a 21-7 lead. Hendon Hooker responded with a drive of his own, leading the Vols for a TD. Once again, Tennessee’s secondary played poorly and South Carolina found an easy touchdown through the air.

On that drive it also didn’t help that Tennesee’s rush defense let up a 34-yard rush to Ahmarean Brown near midfield, pushing the Gamecocks into the red zone. Once again, Tennessee was able to drive down the field but they were unable to find paydirt and had to settle for three.

South Carolina ran to the same formula as last time, and it produced the same results. Additionally, Tennessee committed penalties on multiple plays on that drive. Hendon Hooker quickly went to work for a score before the end of the half, making it a 35-24 South Carolina game.

The second half started out with poor possessions from both sides. This was the first time that South Carolina would punt in this game. It would be the only time they would punt. Their first drive to start the half would be their worst drive of the game.

Quickly, Hendon Hooker made it a one-possession game behind a TD-leading drive. The Gamecocks responded soundly from their one poor drive of the game by going for six on the next one. Once again, the Vols’ secondary played poorly and couldn’t stop South Carolina’s offense.

Tennessee wouldn’t be able to respond to this drive with a score of its own because of penalties. They would have to punt after 7 plays (on which a facemask was called on one play, and pass interference was called on another). South Carolina quickly went back to attacking Tennessee’s weakness and scored another TD.

The next play ended the game as Hendon Hooker fumbled the ball on the snap. Unfortunately for Hooker, he was also injured in the play. South Carolina would recover. With an 18-point lead, 11 minutes left in the fourth, and possession in the red zone, the game was practically over.

South Carolina Football upsets Tennessee in offensive showcase

The final score would end up being 63-38, South Carolina. I did not think South Carolina Football would beat Tennessee this week. Like the rest of the country, I thought Tennessee would blow out the Carolina team that has struggled offensively at times (see last week’s loss to Florida). Keep in mind that Tennessee was a big favorite going into this game.

South Carolina Football not only upset the Vols, but were three points away from covering Tennessee’s spread going into this game.

South Carolina has had its ups and downs this year. Going into this game, I would say this season was a minor failure. For the state of the program, the Kentucky win is great, but offensive struggles against Missouri and Florida dampened the outlook for the program.

Yes, they were bowl eligible before this game, but it didn’t really seem like a step-up from last year. Obviously, this win changes the outlook. While the only real difference will be a better bowl game, this win was really important for Shane Beamer. This was a quality win that the program can point to.

While they exploited Tennessee’s weakness to get the win, South Carolina beat a playoff contender (and took them out of the playoff race). That is something to be really proud of.

Additionally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat Clemson next week in the Palmetto Bowl. Beating their arch-rival would give the Gamecocks a lot of good momentum going into the offseason (regardless of how they play in their bowl game) on top of this win.

Tennessee’s season is over. While they will still go to a great bowl game, and most likely finish with 10 wins, losing to Carolina isn’t what they envisioned after beating Bama in Week 6.

Even after the loss to Georgia, the Vols had a path to the playoff. Yes, to fully get a spot; they probably need some help.

Things got even worse for the Volunteers, as Hendon Hooker will be out for the rest of the year. 

I don’t think it will matter in next week’s matchup against Vanderbilt, but still, this is a massive blow for their opportunity to win a big-time bowl game this season.

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The secondary was the reason they lost this game. As already stated, South Carolina Football did whatever they wanted in this game. While the Vols’ secondary has looked poor before, it hasn’t looked as bad as it was in this game. Tennessee’s lost their chance at making this season an all-timer in this game.