USC played one of the worst 30 minutes of football imaginable to fall into a 35-7 halftime hole at Tennessee Saturday afternoon. To their credit, the Gamecocks showed some second half spunk, but it was not nearly enough to overcome the Vols who went on to a 45-20 win at Neyland Stadium. The Gamecocks have lost three in a row to the Vols and nine straight SEC games over the last two seasons.
The Vols picked right up where they left off at Missouri last weekend when they had almost 700 yards of offense. They scored touchdowns on their first four possessions for a 28-0 lead.
the Gamecocks actually had a chance in the first quarter to put seven on the board. They reached the Tennessee one with conventional football, even the I-formation. But offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, inexplicably went to the Wildcat with Dakereon Joyner, and he was stuffed on a run. Satterfield followed that call with defensive end Jordan Burch lining up at tailback and taking a toss, rolling left, and throwing into the end zone. The pass was intercepted.
That moment seemed to suck the life out of the Gamecocks for most of the rest of the first half. Tennessee did whatever it wanted with its high-tempo attack and finished the first half with 373 yards. The Vols slowed things down in the second half, and the Gamecocks picked things up. USC outscored UT 13-7 and outgained the Vols 189-99 over the final 30 minutes.
The Gamecocks are 3-3 overall at the midway point of their season, 0-3 in the SEC. They remain stuck on 99 alltime SEC victories. They return to Williams-Brice Stadium next Saturday for Homecoming when the opponent will be, who else, Vanderbilt.