It is a battle of 3-2 teams at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville as the Tennessee Vols welcome the visit of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Here are the three keys to a Volunteer win.
By Steve Wright
1 – Offensive balance
The Vols straight smoked Mizzou last week with a performance of offensive balance that every team is looking for. Hendon Hooker completed almost 80% of his passes and went for 225 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Junior running back Tiyon Evans went for 156 on the ground and scored three touchdowns of his own. It was a complete offensive performance and as good as Hooker was, and he was very good, it is the play of Evans that should have Vols fans excited. His ability to be explosive gives this offense a new dimension and it is one that the Gamecocks will struggle to stop.
2 – Control tempo
The faster this game is played the better it will be for the Vols. South Carolina has a legitimately good defense, but their offense is – to put it kindly – a work in progress. The Gamecocks will want to slow this down and limit the possessions to keep it close, the kind of grind it out football that teams play when they are out-talented. The Vols need to play fast, play tempo, and increase the number of possessions in the game as they will simply score on more of theirs than the Gamecocks will.
3 – Don’t look ahead
The next month gets a little crazy as the Vols face four teams in a row that are currently ranked. South Carolina is getting nothing out of its offense – dual-threat quarterback Luke Doty is admittedly injured but he has rushed for -3 yards total in three games – and this is the kind of game that the Vols should be able to dominate if the result last week was any indication of where this team is headed.