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 Gamecocks victory.
By Steve Wright
1 -Find some offense
The South Carolina defense has been fantastic – more on that in a moment – but the offense is kind of a shambles. Luke Doty has continued to look injured in his return and the dual-threat has picked up -3 yards rushing across three games. It isn’t much better through the air – even though the wide receivers have talent – with Doty throwing for under 200 yards per game. Averaging just 18 points over the last four is unlikely to get it done against a Tennessee squad that rolled for 62 points against Mizzou last time out.
2 – Stop the run
Tennessee’s rebuild on offense has come along much quicker than that of the Gamecocks. Last week against Mizzou – and admittedly everyone can run on Mizzou – the Vols went for a ridiculous 458 yards on the ground. Junior running back Tiyon Evans – who went over 150 yards and had three rushing scores – is a big play waiting to happen, while dual-threat quarterback Hendon Hooker can run the ball as well as anyone on the field. The Gamecocks’ defense is for real –cornerback Theo Johnson has 31 tackles and 6.5 for a loss – but there will be a lot of pressure on them here.
3 – Turnovers matter
The Gamecocks have been exceptional at taking the ball away from the other team. They have 14 takeaways on the year – at least two in every game – giving their offense plenty of field position and opportunities to score. Tennessee was turning the ball over early in the season, but the Vols seem to have fixed that issue over the last couple of weeks and are now scoring in bunches instead. Winning the turnover battle by two or more should result in a winning opportunity.