The Vols (5-2) are coming off of a much needed bye week and look fired up to lay a beat down on South Carolina (3-4). The Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier retired last season after 10 years with South Carolina and 37 years of coaching. He spent two of those 37 years in the NFL with the Washington Redskins. To replace Spurrier, the Gamecocks hired former Florida head coach Will Muschamp to take over the head job. South Carolina also suffered the loss of their best offensive player, if not their best player last season, in Pharoh Cooper, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams.
At quarterback Muschamp has gone with senior Perry Orth, who currently has 661 yards with 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Freshman Brandon Mcllwain has also been in at quarterback for South Carolina, mostly in a “red zone quarterback” type position. Mcllwain has 567 yards and 2 touchdowns and an interception, as well as 2 rushing touchdowns. Although those two have received the majority of snaps, freshman Jake Bentley has also seen playing time. Rushing the ball the Gamecocks have seen 5 different players score 2 touchdowns, with A.J. Turner seeing the most action in the backfield with 68 attempts, 300 yards, and 2 scores.
The Gamecocks’ defense is not particularly outstanding, but, that is to be expected during a rebuilding season. D.J. Smith leads the defensive unit with 34 tackles and an interception, although Chris Lammons leads in interceptions with 3. On special teams, they have an experienced senior kicker in Elliot Fry, who accounted for 85 of South Carolina’s points last season.
Tennessee will have a boost on the defense as linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. is set to make his return on Saturday after sitting out due to injury. Coach Butch Jones recently commented on the offensive line saying, “Offensive front wise, everyone should be back.” This should definitely help the Vols’ offense. Coach Jones also commented Monday saying that Cam Sutton is expected to be back in a couple weeks in November.
Coming off the bye week and ready to avenge their recent loss, the Vols will be looking to drop the boom on struggling South Carolina. The Vols, who opened as 14-point favorites, should run away with this one against their SEC East opponents.