Knoxville, Tenn.: It’s been said that revenge is a dish best served cold. In the case of Tennessee and South Carolina, the Volunteers have been forced to wait over 300 days to exact vengeance for last season’s beatdown at Williams-Brice Stadium. But Josh Heupel and Tennessee did indeed get their retribution with a 41-20 victory over USC in front of 101,915 at Neyland Stadium, Saturday.
Spencer Rattler (24 of 35, 169 yards) and the Gamecocks offense couldn’t recapture the magic they conjured up in last season’s 63-38 victory, converting just 2 of 14 3rd downs. Running back Mario Anderson (101 yards on 10 carries) did his part, becoming the first Gamecock to top the century mark since Marshawn Lloyd went for 110 yards against Kentucky last season.
But the Vols’ rushing attack was even better, consistently getting the edge against the Gamecocks’ defense to stack up 238 yards. USC was also plagued by missed tackles, especially in the first half, forcing them to play from behind throughout the night. South Carolina’s front seven registered just one tackle for loss and the top three tacklers were all defensive backs. Jalon Kilgore led the way with 15 tackles to go with his first interception of the season. The defensive line wasn’t at full strength with TJ Sanders missing significant time due to injury.
The Gamecocks should be a healthier bunch when they next take the field on Oct. 14th against Florida.