The South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Knoxville today for a matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers. This game features two first-year head coaches facing off in rebuilding years. This game won’t have any national implications, but there are still some things worth taking a look at. Let’s jump right in.
How To Watch
Stream: ESPN App
Spread: Tennessee -10.5 / South Carolina +10.5
Pick and Preview
Tennessee’s offense exploded last week for 62 points against Missouri. It was an impressive showing for a team that wasn’t expected to have many this year.
Now, the Volunteers return home to face South Carolina, who’s coming off a nine-point win against Troy last week.
The best unit in this game is the Tennessee offense, led by QB Hendon Hooker. Tennessee ranks 16th in the country in scoring offense and 31st in yards per play. Those numbers are inflated by last week’s performance, but it is still a big enough sample size to have some optimism about Heupel and his offense.
Among SEC QB’s with at least 75 dropbacks, Hooker ranks 3rd in yards per attempt as well as 4th in completion percentage.
I’m not sure if it is even worth talking about South Carolina’s offense. Just know that it is not good. Really not good.
What South Carolina does have though, is a decent defense. The Gamecock defense ranks 17th in EPA per play. They have given up some yards on the ground, but rank 16th in college football in yards per pass, creating their fair share of turnovers as well.
DB’s Jaylan Foster and Cam Smith have been putting together nice years on the backend for the gamecocks. They’ll be asked to play a big role in shutting down that Tennessee passing attack.
South Carolina can get after the quarterback and Tennessee hasn’t proven they can protect the quarterback. Despite having just two sacks on the year, South Carolina DL Kingsley Enagbare has 22 total pressures.
To get the win, all Tennessee’s OL has to do is hang in there just a bit. Easier said than done, I know. For this reason, I wouldn’t bet on the Vols to cover, but I think Hooker and company move the ball well enough for a Tennessee win.