#5 Vols Fall to Red-Hot Gamecocks, 63-38

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Match Review: Football |

Colombia, South Carolina – A blistering South Carolina offensive could not be held back as the fifth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers fell 63-38 to the Gamecocks Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.

It was an offensive battle from the vault as the two sides combined for a first-half 59 points. South Carolina (7-4, 4-4 SEC) uped 21 points in the first quarter and followed that up with two goals in the second quarter. Tennessee kept the pressure on with their own offensive win, throwing up a 17-point second period and going into halftime with just 11 points.

The Vols (9-2, 5-2) came up with a stop on South Carolina’s opening second-half drive and converted it into points as Hendon hooker found Princeton Fant Sweep through the middle of the field for a 41-yard touchdown. Reducing the deficit to four was as close as the Vols would come to night of the ballgame in the last 30 minutes.

South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler was 30 of 37 with 438 yards and six touchdowns, setting a new program record for single-game passing touchdowns.

Hooker finished 25 of 42 for 247 yards and three touchdowns before ending the game 11:28 in the fourth quarter due to injury. He connected with Cedric Tillmann (three meters) and Brother McCoy (seven yards) for his other two scores. Jabari small would also get into the end zone with a rushing result, dashing 31 yards to count on the Vols’ opening drive.

Tennessee would score a final touchdown with 1:14 remaining in the game Joe Milton III delivered a nice ball to Tillman, who spiked it up into the back corner of the end zone.

Tillman finished the night as the Vols’ lead receiver, hauling for 81 yards on nine catches and two touchdown grabs. It was his third multi-touchdown contest of his career and his first of the season.

South Carolina opened the game with a score on their first drive, but it wouldn’t be long before the Vols responded. After two completions to open the game, Hooker and small back-to-back long runs ripped off as Hooker escaped a closing pocket and found space, running for 29 yards and putting the Big Orange in plus territory. On the very next play, Small took an inside handoff off the shotgun, missed a linebacker, and was in just 64 seconds to the races where he scored a touchdown.

Rattler then orchestrated a couple of quick shots fueled by long passes to forge a 21-7 lead. The Vols again responded with a 75-yard, 14-play drive that began in the first quarter and ended in the second. It was a meticulous sequence capped by a fourth down conversion from the three-yard line as Hooker threw his first touchdown of the game, a corner fade for Tillman near the left pylon.

The Gamecocks added four more touchdown scores and mustered 606 total yards of offense to Tennessee’s 507.

cornerback Kamal Hadden was the Vols’ lead tackler at nine while the defensive end Byron Young and linebackers Aaron Beasley Each scored three tackles for the loss.

The Volunteers wrap up the regular season Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET when they take on Vanderbilt at FirstBank Stadium in Nashville. The competition will be televised by SEC Network.