College Football: Tennessee Outlasts South Carolina

College Football: Tennessee Outlasts South Carolina

by September 27, 2020 2 comments

The Tennessee Volunteers traveled to Columbia, SC to face the Gamecocks in the teams’ season opener.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all SEC teams are only playing conference teams this year. Their schedules were reduced to 10 games, and they postponed the start of the season. The Volunteers came into the game ranked No.16. They were favored to defeat the Gamecocks, which they did for the second year in a row, 31-27.

The First Half

The Gamecocks started the game with possession of the ball and put the first points on the board when Kevin Harris rushed the ball three yards for a touchdown. Tennessee put their first points up in their second possession after Jarrett Guarantano made two deep passes, the first to Eric Gray for 31 yards and the second to Brandon Johnson for 30 yards and Guarantano rushed the ball one yard to tie it up, 7-7. The score remained unchanged finishing out the first quarter.

The Gamecocks also started the second quarter with possession of the ball, however, Henry To’o To’o intercepted the ball and took it 32 yards for an interception touchdown, expanding the lead 14-7 with 13:22 on the clock. The teams exchanged downs for the rest of the quarter and the score remained unchanged.

The Second Half

Tennessee had possession of the ball to start the second half of the game. They capitalized with a touchdown in the opening drive. South Carolina also produced a touchdown in their opening drive, putting them back into the game, 21-14. The Volunteers tried to respond in their next drive with a field goal score, but Brent Cimaglia missed the 46-yard attempt.

The Gamecocks tied the game in their next possession after Collin Hill rushed the ball for a one-yard touchdown score and Parker White kicked the extra point with 4:32 left in the third quarter. Cimaglia attempted another field goal in the next Tennessee drive and put it through the posts from 27 yards out, giving the Volunteers a three-point lead, 24-21. The score would remain unchanged to finish out the quarter.

The Volunteers also opened the fourth quarter with possession. The Gamecocks’ defense stopped them from producing on the opening drive. The Gamecocks closed out their opening drive with a 35-yard field goal kick by Parker White, tying the game 24-24 with 10:48 on the clock. Tennessee answered in the next drive with a 32 yard touchdown pass between Guarantno and Josh Palmer and took the lead for the third time, 31-24.

Both teams exchanged downs in the next series of drives. The Gamecocks closed the lead, 31-27 after Parker White put a 45-yard field goal through the posts with just over three minutes on the clock. The Gamecocks defense held off the Volunteers in their next possession. In the final punt of the game, Cam Smith fumbled the ball. Jimmy Holiday recovered it, sealing the Gamecocks’ fate.

Moving Forward

Next week the Gamecocks travel to Gainesville, FL to meet the fifth-ranked (as of Saturday) Florida Gators. The Gators defeated the Ole Miss Rebels in their season opener, 51-35 with quarterback Kyle Trask passing for 416 yards and six touchdown passes. South Carolina’s defense will have to step it up if they have any chance of stopping Trask and Kyle Pitts next week. The offense, although it appears to be a stronger line this season, will also need to step it up against Ventrell Miller, Donovan Stiner, and the rest of the Florida defensive line.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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