Spencer Rattler dominates Tennessee, crushing Vols on home field

The Volquest crew give their immediate reaction to Tennessee’s 63-38 loss to South Carolina in Columbia. It was the second loss of the season for the Volunteers – and a costly one – as college football playoff hopes have dwindled in recent weeks.

The Vols were outperformed in losing 606 yards to 507 yards as Spencer Rattler had a career game and threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns.

How costly is this loss for Tennessee and what does it mean for postseason goals? The boys discuss on the mini pod after the game.


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South Carolina batted first, marching for 75 yards in nine games for a quick touchdown lead less than five minutes into the ballgame. After getting a first down by converting to fourth and six, Spencer Rattler found Jaheim bell in the flat for the 19-yard putt. The home crowd was alive and well early on at Williams Brice Stadium.

Tennessee responds right back as Jabari small finds the end zone from 31 yards to tie the ball game. The scoring drive only lasted four plays as the Vols marched 75 yards down the field. Hendon hooker also had a long run in the drive, 29 yards down field — and escaping a near-sack — and setting the stage for the small touchdown run.

The Gamecocks hit back on next possession in the early back-and-forth affair. Rattler kicked in the pocket when hit Josh Van for a 60-yard touchdown. Doneiko battle went to the ball and got nothing. The scoring drive lasted just five games and spanned 65 yards when the home team regained a 6:25 touchdown lead in the first quarter.

South Carolina took a two-touchdown lead over the Volunteers after Tennessee was forced to punt after a holding penalty and a sack on back-to-back games. Ratter found Juju McDowell from the backfield – he juke Brandon Turnage – and found the end zone from 11 meters away. The Gamecocks led the Vols 21-7 with just over a minute into the first quarter.

Tennessee had work to do but responded to its first possession of the second quarter — cutting South Carolina’s 21-14 lead to a point. The Vols need 14 games to find the end zone but did so on a fourth and goal call from the three-yard line. Hooker dropped back and faded out Cedric Tilmann, who came down and made the contested catch. Good game all round as the coverage was stifling.

The home team marched 74 yards to find the end zone again, increasing the lead over Tennessee to 28-14 with a 9-06 in the second quarter. Dakereron Joyner, operated from the wildcat, retained the football and sprinted from the one-yard line to score. earlier on the journey, Ahmarean Brown gained 34 yards on the Wildcat’s jet sweep to set the Gamecocks up in the red zone.

The Vols didn’t score a touchdown but added three points to the scoreboard in the next series. Connected hooker on fourth down princeton fan, who persevered despite a well-aimed penalty called on the defense. The drive’s longest game was his first, a 16-yard reception from Jalin Hyatt. Chase McGrath later settled for a 27-yard field goal as the Vols returned to a deficit at 28-17 with just under five minutes left in the first half.

The Gamecocks scored one last touchdown in the first half and finished the 75-yard nine-play drive with a 35-17 lead. Rattler found Vann for another touchdown, this time from 18 yards. In the series, Rattler attacked Tennessee cornerbacks and threw multiple times at Turnage before leaving with an injury. Finally it was Christian Karl who gave up the score. South Carolina led 35-17 with just over two minutes remaining at halftime.

With just 12 seconds left in the first half, Tennessee found the end zone for a critical score. Hooker found Hyatt three ties for 32 yards on the drive, but it was Bru McCoy who was pulled by the linebacker in the winning pass from the quarterback for the seven-yard touchdown. Tennessee’s lead was reduced to 11 points by the half-time break, 35:24.

The Vols stabbed from the break but defensively forced a punt the other way – a rarity in the ball game to the point. Hoke put Tennessee on the board after hitting wide open Princeton Fant Over-the-middle off-play action for the 41-yard touchdown. The Vols drew within four with just under 10 minutes in the third quarter, 35-31.

To give them some breathing room, the Gamecocks score on their next possession to push the lead back to 11 points Antwane Wells Jr. took the jet sweep handoff from the three-yard line. The drive spanned 65 yards on nine games than Kamal Hadden as tapped several times at the corner.

The home team opened it up again with a touchdown just before the fourth quarter to level the score at 49-31. Tennessee gave up two cheap penalties to gift the Gamecocks a red-zone touchdown. Rattler finished it off with a two-yard pass to Bell. Tennessee was down 18 points at 11:41 in the ball game.

After Hooker fumbled with an injury on the shut down, South Carolina took over at the 17-yard line since the red zone. It took the Gamecocks just four games to rush for 17 yards when quarterback Rattler took it upon himself from the three-yard line to take a 56-31 lead with 9:26 in the ball game.

South Carolina scored again, as did Tennessee Joe Milton found Cedric Tillman for a 21-yard shot.

The Vols will wrap up the regular season next weekend in Vanderbilt for the 7:30 p.m. ET kick.

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