USC fell into an early hole against Tennessee Saturday night in Knoxville and could not climb out of it as the Gamecocks fall to the Vols 31-13. Tennessee turned Gamecock fumbles on their first two possessions into 14 quick points. A third USC fumble led to Tennessee’s third touchdown early in the second quarter and a 21-0 lead. The Gamecocks also had a 75 yard punt return for a touchdown by Stephon Gilmore in the second quarter wiped out by a block in the back. It was an uphill battle the rest of the night for USC which could never get back to a one possession game. The Gamecocks failed once again to beat Tennessee in consecutive years.
Steve Spurrier Audio: (4:34)
Quarterback Stephen Garcia was forced to go to the air repeatedly in an attempt to rally his team from the early two touchdown deficit. He finished the night 22-50 for 300 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Gamecocks only ran the ball 20 times for 65 yards with Kenny Miles rushing for 44 yards.
Stephen Garcia Audio: (3:51)
The Gamecock defense was put in short field situations early in the gamebecause of the turnovers and couldn’t keep the Vols out of the end zone on any of those series. The Vols scored on drives of 43 yards, 27 yards and 29 yards following those turnovers. Tennessee’s longest scoring drive of the night was a 55 yard drive for its fourth touchdown late in the third quarter. The Vols had 341 total yards but 199 rushing yards. Montario Hardesty had 121 rushing yards, just the second back all season to rush for over 100 yards against the Gamecock defense.
Ellis Johnson Audio: (5:34)
The Gamecocks enter November on a downer, and no doubt their fans fear the same collapse that wrecked the past two seasons. They lost their last three games of last season. They lost their final five games in 2007. And they’ll be without defensive end Cliff Matthews for at least a couple of weeks, and possibly for the rest of the regular season, according Spurrier because of a shoulder injury.
Mo Brown Audio: (5:46)
The Gamecocks are now 6-3 overall and 3-3 in the SEC. They play at Arkansas next week. Tennessee is 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the SEC. The Vols will play host to Memphis next Saturday.