Tennessee vs. South Carolina preview

Tennessee Vols Head Coach Butch Jones
Photo Credit Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Next Saturday, the Tennessee Volunteers will have a chance to come back from a couple of ugly losses this season, while avenging their loss from last year, against the University of South Carolina.

The Gamecocks completely dismantled a struggling Arkansas team this past Saturday, and their defense led them to their large victory.

If Tennessee wants any chance at revenge from last year’s game in Columbia, they cannot afford to turn the ball over as often as they have been.

Players to Watch

Tennessee:

John Kelly – The running game has been the biggest bright spot for Tennessee’s offense this season, and it needs to be the main focus going into Saturday. If they want any chance at a victory, John Kelly needs to get touches early and often.

Daniel Bituli – The linebacker has been one of the most underrated players in the entire SEC, and Tennessee needs him to be on top of his game on Saturday. Going into the bye week, he was second in the conference in tackles with 42. The guy is a beast, and he needs to be one if they want to get a win.

South Carolina:

Jake Bentley – The young quarterback made his college debut last season against Tennessee and played really well. He’s gotten the job done this year as a solid game manager and will have the opportunity to have a career game against a struggling defense.

Alexander Wozniak – The Gamecock kicking game hasn’t been very solid, and that is something that needs to change if USC wants to come away with a victory. These are two teams that are struggling and seem pretty equal going into this game. It could come down to the kicking game to decide the winner.

Keys to the game

Tennessee:

The hardships on offense have headlined this year’s team. The Vols can’t afford stupid turnovers that put South Carolina in prime position to run away with the game like Georgia did. Take care of the ball. It’s as simple as that. If Quinten Dormady gets the start, he needs to throw the ball with confidence. When Kelly runs the ball, he needs to secure it. As the great General Robert Neyland said, and what the Vols say before every single game, “The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.”

South Carolina:

South Carolina needs to keep pressing on defense. Tennessee has been a turnover-prone team all season, and this defense needs to capitalize on that in order to win and keep their SEC East hopes alive. The Gamecocks still have a lot on the line, so the defense needs to step up like they did this past week and get their team a victory.

Prediction

Tennessee is coming off of a much-needed bye week to get some rest and heal up from quite a few injuries. And hopefully, they fixed some problems they’ve been having on both sides of the ball, specifically offense. But South Carolina is riding a defensive high that the Vol offense just hasn’t proven good enough to bring down. South Carolina wins 21-13.

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About Taylor Hodges 13 Articles

My name is Taylor Hodges, and I live in Montgomery, Alabama, where I am the assistant sports information director at Faulkner University. I am a lifelong Tennessee Vols and Indianapolis Colts fan, and I am a lover of all things sports. I love writing about sports, and I hope to continue to do so as a career for as long as possible.