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South Carolina vs. Tennessee final score 2020: Vols escape with win over Gamecocks

It wasn’t pretty by any means, but for Tennessee a win is a win.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers and South Carolina Gamecocks battled to the end. And in the end, a brutal mishap by South Carolina led to a 31-27 victory for Tennessee to begin the 2020 season.

In the immortal words of the great Warner Wolf, “Let’s go to the videotape!”

Both teams could certainly take some lessons with them along the way after the way the game shook out. It was pretty even for the most part on the statsheet, though some clear advantages were had in some areas. Tennessee outpaced South Carolina in rushing yards, YPC, and YPP but did lose the turnover battle, the 3rd down efficiency battle and the TOP battle as well.

Josh Palmer and Brandon Johnson emerged as terrific receiving options for Jarrett Guarantano on Saturday night. The duo combined for nine receptions and 158 yards, good for a YPR of a robust 17.56. Johnson himself averaged 24.3 YPR on just three catches, and explosive showing to say the very least. Palmer led in receptions with six and also scored a touchdown. Ty Chandler had a very good outing, as despite no trips to the end zone, the veteran tailback rushed for 86 yards with a 6.6 YPC clip.

South Carolina’s leading rusher was Kevin Harris, who gained 55 yards on the night. Deshaun Fenwick was the most efficient runner, as he averaged 5.2 YPC on six rushing attempts. Shi Smith was reliable for Collin Hill, as Smith caught 10 passes, six more than the next highest Gamecocks (Xavier Legette, Nick Muse and Fenwick) for 140 yards and picked up a touchdown reception, too.

Tennessee will look to improve to 2-0 when they meet the Missouri Tigers next week. Meanwhile, South Carolina will look to get to .500 when they face the vaunted Florida Gators.