USC hit the five win mark Saturday with a 15-9 victory at Tennessee, the first time since the 2013 season the Gamecocks reached five wins before November. And like so many of the games with Tennessee recently, this one went down to the final play. Third and goal from the two with one second to play, and the Gamecock defense, as it had throughout the game, came up with a stop.
The Gamecocks had to survive the early onslaught by Tennessee. The Vols reached the red zone three times in the first half, but in 15 plays from there, they could not score a touchdown and had to settle for field goals. They didn’t threaten again until the game’s final possession. Down by six, the Vols drove to the Gamecock two and had three shots at victory. They came up empty each time.
After surviving the early onslaught by Tennessee, the Gamecocks finally got their offense going in the third quarter churning out 121 yards while holding Tennessee to eight. USC took the lead for good on a 20 yard run by AJ Turner, (the extra point was botched by a bad snap) then added a pair of Parker White field goals in the fourth for the 15-9 lead.
All the while the Gamecock defense kept the Vols offense in check until that final drive. The Vols had 133 yards in the first quarter. From that point to their final drive they mustered only 47 yards. USC defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson made some excellent adjustments as the game wore on pressuring redshirt freshman quarterback Jarret Guarantano into seven sacks and keeping him hemmed up so he couldn’t use his legs. And after a brutal start in the tackling department, the defense cut way down on that as well.
Except for the injuries, Will Muschamp really couldn’t ask more of his team than being 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the SEC going into the bye week. Two weeks from now the Gamecocks will be favored against Vanderbilt at home. Hold serve and they will be bowl eligible and will have clinched at least a .500 SEC record heading into the November crunch.
USC post game interviews
Post game review from Neyland Stadium
Post game Periscope following USC win over Tennessee.https://t.co/8PfCOKiKQH
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) October 14, 2017