South Carolina tries to extend its four-game winning streak when it travels to Knoxville for a noon kickoff (ESPN) at Tennessee inside Neyland Stadium. Here’s a further examination of the No. 11 Gamecocks’ second matchup in a three-game road trip:
USC proved it can deal with adversity last week, blasting Arkansas in its largest blowout against a fellow SEC team not named Kentucky after a week of Jadeveon Clowney controversy. Now, the Gamecocks have a new challenge as they head to Knoxville. Can this young team handle success? Steve Spurrier didn’t hesitate. “We’ve not done enough to think we’re hot stuff yet,” the Head Ball Coach said. “We’re not.”
At the season’s midway point, USC sophomore running back Mike Davis is tied for the SEC lead with nine rushing touchdowns. How did he get there? Well, it starts with consistency. Davis has scored a touchdown in all six games this season. Against Central Florida and Kentucky, he had multiple touchdowns. Can Davis make it seven straight games this week?
Oh yeah, this will be fun. Perhaps the SEC’s best individual matchup, it’s always a treat to watch South Carolina’s elite defensive end go against Tennessee’s left tackle. Clowney got the upper hand last season, with his sack-fumble sealing USC’s win in Columbia. Don’t think for one second Richardson has forgotten. It should be a great battle.
Tennessee has the best offensive line in the SEC, if not the country. And, finally, the Vols have a running back who can take advantage. Tennessee doesn’t do a lot well offensively, but its rushing attack is at least mediocre. The Vols are seventh in the league with 211 rushing yards per game. Senior running back Rajion Neal has been one of the conference’s better tailbacks. With 616 rushing yards, he’s one of four SEC running backs averaging more than 100 yards per game.
South Carolina 38, Tennessee 17