The South Carolina Gamecocks are still in contention for the SEC title and a possibility, but a long-shot, at a national title appearance. Steve Spurrier will need some defensive help from the Gamecocks’ defensive unit and Jadeveon Clowney who have struggled so far this season.
Two weeks removed from a near-upset of the Georgia Bulldogs at home, the Tennessee Volunteers are 3-3 on the season and all three losses have come at the hands of ranked teams. Facing their fourth ranked team in the first seven games of the season, the Volunteers will be looking to put together another upset bid at home.
Connor Shaw needed to step up his game in week seven against the Arkansas Razorbacks and he did just that. Leading the Gamecocks to a 52-7 victory over Arkansas is exactly what this team needed moving forward and Shaw’s three touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown contributed greatly to a blowout victory. He has 1,146 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season to go along with no interceptions and a 68.5 percent completion rate. Mike Davis has to be the best offensive weapon behind shaw, running the ball 111 times for 742 yards and nine touchdowns this season with a 6.7 yards per carry average.
Tennessee looks like it is a program on the way up under Butch Jones, but this season is definitely another rebuilding one — possibly the last before a serious run at SEC title contention in the coming years. Having one of the worst passing attacks in the nation behind Justin Worley, the Volunteers have relied heavily on the run game. However, the junior quarterback does have 940 yards and nine touchdowns this season — he hasn’t been extremely poor, but just yardage-wise he isn’t the best. Rajion Neal is one of the top running backs in the SEC, but the second-best in this game, with 616 yards and seven touchdowns on the year.
Defensively, the Volunteers rank 75th in the country with 28 points per game scored against them. They rank a bit lower at 80th when it comes to yards against per game with 416.5 allowed each contest. South Carolina was expected to have one of the best defensive teams prior to the season. They haven’t been poor, but ranking 23rd in yards allowed per game is just a bit short of what the Gamecocks expected.
South Carolina will travel to Tennessee to take on the Volunteers at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Oct. 19. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: South Carolina 31, Tennessee 20