The Tennessee Volunteers (3-3, 0-2) got some good news and some bad news during the bye last week. The good news: running back Marlin Lane will be healthy enough to play this week after missing one game with a foot injury. The bad news: linebacker Curt Maggitt remains sidelined and will likely have to redshirt this season.
Lane is second on the team with 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns this season, and should provide a nice one-two punch in the backfield with Rajion Neal. Tennessee takes on South Carolina this week, and the Gamecocks have struggled to stop the run at times, so Lane’s return couldn’t have come at a better time.
Maggitt tore his anterior cruciate ligament last November, but head coach Butch Jones said he wasn’t expected to play this year. The junior and two-year starter at middle linebacker would have been a huge addition to the Volunteers defense had he been able to return this season.
What to look for in Week 8: Is Tennessee really as close to turning the corner as they looked against Georgia? Though the Bulldogs beat South Carolina, Tennessee benefited from a laundry list of UGA injuries in the 34-31 overtime loss two weeks ago. Now, the Volunteers take on a top-tier SEC opponent at full strength.
One thing to keep in mind, the last time Tennessee won against a ranked opponent was Oct. 31, 2009. The victim – No. 22 South Carolina. It’s not likely history will repeat itself Saturday, but it will be a very encouraging sign if the Vols manage to hang with the Gamecocks.